Sunday, 4 October 2009

grey scale dyeing experiments

Today I have been trying to work out the best way to do an activity with my class that will result in a grey scale...which they have to do for their requirements. The question is, what makes the best use of the time we have, while giving acceptable results.

Yes, we could do the paint thing, but I would like them to be able to apply it to fabric. So, I mixed up black dye.

At the top you see the experiment of diluting the mixture by the same amount of water each time. So, you start off full strength - say 200 mls. Pour half into a cup - 100mls, then add 100 mls water back to the original amount of 200 mls. Pour half into a cup...and so on. By cup 11, it basically looked like slightly grey water.

I put a little square of white cotton in each cup. I am not sure how long this will take to work. I am leaving it over night, but it may not need that long. I will do another lot in the morning. To see how it will work in a 2 hour period of time... alotting time for rinsing out.

For the second experiment, I thought I would try putting a strip in the black dye, and pulling it out at 10 min intervals. I divided the strip into sections and marked it with permanent pen. Straight away, I saw this meant the lightest one was still too dark... the equivilent of starting with black paint and trying to add white to it. And as well, I couldn't see my marks!

So, I started a 3rd experiment. I started with 200 mls of water, then I added a pipette full of black dye (30mls). After 10 min, I pulled the strip up so the portion above the first mark was out of the solution...then I added another pipette of black dye. I carried on doing this. It was MUCH more effective. I had about 12 sections, and I did not end up with black. However, I think if I leave it longer each time it will be better. It at least shows gradiations better. I am not convinced that dye makes a true black anyway.

I am not sure which method I will use for class. I think I will save it for another day, since it does take alot of fuss, and I already have too much fuss planned in tomorrow's lesson.

I am learning! Too much fuss = too much stress!


Nick said...

Hi, I am a very new member of Contemporary quilts, and havent plucked up courage to contribute to online discussions yet!! But have enjoyed reading comments. I love dyeing, and am currently drawing my thoughts in black and white so they dont get muddled with colour yet. What a fabulous idea to do greyscale dyeing, will have to play. brilliant idea - thanks

margaret said...

Sometimes the things with the simplest results are the most complicated to do!