Saturday, October 05, 2013

Color theory

This morning I ran back to the church where the sale is going to happen and took the bag of work that I forgot yesterday and spiffed up my display a bit, then hit the Post Office and sent off a quilt I sold this week(woo hoo) then went back home and decided I need to whip my studio into shape. The Open Studios are two weeks away.

I had a pot of dye that I needed to either use or toss out. My dyeing habits would send professional dyers and most of the fabric artists I know screaming into the woods. First off, of course, I use the wrong kind of dye, because I am not dyeing yards of fabrics to exact formulas. I am tossing bits and recycled parts of shirts into a little pot on a hot plate, hoping for something good. I'm never sure what I will get, but it is always perfect—for something! When over-dyeing, it helps to know some color theory, because "over-dyeing" doesn't mean you are covering over the old color, it means you are adding something to the old color.

All of these fabrics went into the same pot of turquoise dye today. See why this just seems like magic to me?

The first piece on the left was navy blue and white. Only the white was changed by the dye because the navy is so dark the lighter turquoise made barely an impression. The yellow just got a quick dip to knock back what was a pretty bright cheddar color to something more subtle. (Don't worry—I saved a good bit of bright cheddar!) The purple was a similar story, with only a slight change to the original color. The brownish piece on the right of the purple was dark orange. The greenish-tannish one below was an obnoxious light, bright orange and it thrills me now! The lighter, more turquoise pieces all had a lot of white, but because of the different types of fabrics and the other colors woven into them each took the turquoise a bit differently.

The turquoise was getting pretty depleted so I threw in some green and tan dyes and stirred it around until it looked interesting and started tossing some fabrics into the pot.

Those two-tone green stripes started as the fabric on the left, which is a taupe-y tan and baby blue combo. Didn't that make a terrific combination with the green? The original fabric is just weird, in my opinion, but I think it will be very interesting to over-dye in several colors. Purple for sure. The darker green at the right was a dusty looking green and white plaid. There is a piece of the same fabric in the photo above over-dyed with turquoise. A colorful and productive afternoon.

Tonight was the opening reception for the "Celebrate the Gifts" show and sale. It was nice and I sold two smaller pieces. Tomorrow is the long day, so I need to sign off and get a good night's sleep.

Good night!


  1. I love this, Terry! Turquoise is one of my favorite colors but look what it did to that icky taupe and even gave the purple a new personality. Nice!

  2. Lovely, Terry! Turquoise is one of my favorite colors and I love what it did to that icky taupe!

  3. I love this, Terry! Turquoise is one of my favorite colors but look what it did to that icky taupe and even gave the purple a new personality. Nice!

  4. Your haphazard way of dyeing really appeals to me! I like the surprise part of it and especially what you said about it being just right for some project.
    I'm too ADD to follow strict procedures. Your way sounds more fun and then there's no disappointment when you don't get the exact color you might want. But it might be just the right color someday!

  5. I always loved the magic of dyeing. That's why I have so many pdf fabrics (as well as lots of others). But I got rid of all my dye stuff and no! I'm not getting any more. I'm just working up my ambition to sell the fabrics, too. But the magic of dyeing still appeals to me. Glad you could share the excitement.

    And congrats on selling the art, too!