direct dye application

It’s interesting that most people seem to want to call any direct dye application that’s not painting “tie dye.” I’ve often run into people where I’m showing my veils, and they say, “Oh, you tie dyed these?” Well, no. Mostly they aren’t tie dyed. I can say that with some confidence because they were not tied. Then I try to give the 15-second explanation of low-water immersion dyeing, which leaves them baffled.

On the other hand, the arashi shibori veils were tied. So technically I suppose you could call them “tie dye” — but nobody looks at those and calls them that. Maybe because they don’t look anything at all like classic 60s tie dye? But the LWI silks mostly don’t look “tie dyed” to me either… no spirals or mandalas… sometimes I accordion-fold a bit, but I consciously try to reduce white areas, which are more typical of tie dye.

I’m actually about to try a totally different dye method: direct application of thickened fiber reactive dyes. Aka “painting”. I mixed up some thickened chemical water this morning in preparation… and forgot once again to add the sodium alginate slowly. I hope it’s not going to be a real mess when I try to use it.

Every time I look at a dye technique and say, “Well, I’ll probably never do that,” I almost always end up trying it!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Darlene
    Aug 21, 2007 @ 16:22:00

    I’ve learned to just grin and bear it when people call anything hand-dyed tie-dye. In some parts of the world, they use the word batik across the board the same way. What drives me a little bananas though is when the artists themselves call what they do tie-dye … when it isn’t.

  2. Vashti
    Aug 21, 2007 @ 16:33:00

    How can an artist not know what it is she is doing? That is bizarre.”Tie-dye”, as a word, also seems to have a lot of baggage with it. Some people associate it with amateurishness, hippyiness of the 60s, et cetera. If you are tie-dyeing and what you are making doesn’t look anything like that, I can see why you might want to shy away from the term. But generally I prefer to retake words with baggage and try to rehabilitate them, myself.

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