DYEING WITH THE DOGWOOD DYER

On the beginning of our search for the best natural dyes, I came across a lovely little art studio in Silver Lake that was offering a natural dyeing course concentrated on bundle dyeing.  Since I hadn't even thought of taking a class until this point, the epiphany I had was like a million teeny little light bulbs going off in my head at the same time - GENIUS!  I knew we would learn so much.  And that we did....

 Bird's Eye View - jars full of dried plants for dyeing, and a natural dyeing book by India Flint

Bird's Eye View - jars full of dried plants for dyeing, and a natural dyeing book by India Flint

Our instructor for the class was someone who is SO educated in this field, it seemed like we were learning from a scientist.  Her name is Liz, and her company is called The Dogwood Dyer.  She gave us a handout with all the information we need in regard to each step of the dyeing process, which materials and fabric are best, what type of mordant is the best, everything. http://www.thedogwooddyer.com/

 Jars filled with different dried plants.  Hibiscus, marigolds, onion skins....

Jars filled with different dried plants.  Hibiscus, marigolds, onion skins....

After a very awesome and informative lecture, we all gathered our dyeing supplies and plant materials to start making our bundles.  You can select any dried or fresh plant that will leave a color behind - there are so many options!

 My plate of selected dried plants, flowers, and vegetables

My plate of selected dried plants, flowers, and vegetables

Once you have your items selected, you wet your piece of fabric and start laying the plants onto the fabric.  The craftsmanship is entirely up to the artist, use as many or as little pieces of flowers and onions as you'd like.  

 Piece of silk fabric with small bits of dried flowers sprinkled evenly about

Piece of silk fabric with small bits of dried flowers sprinkled evenly about

Once you have your design laid out, you roll the fabric very tightly, then secure it with cotton yarn.  Add the roll of fabric to a steam bath over the stove and let it steam over boiling water for a given amount of time.  The longer you leave it in the steam bath, the darker the color will come out.

 A pattern of marigolds on a piece of cotton fabric

A pattern of marigolds on a piece of cotton fabric

This was a great and informative class to take and we are hoping to take more classes with Liz!!  The studio that held this class is called Maker's Mess, and they have a really fun schedule of craft classes for an affordable price!  If you're in the LA area, please take one of their classes, you will not be mistaken.  http://www.makersmess.com/