Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Adventures in Dyeing

I've been having lots of fun mucking about with dyes. Below is a range that I achieved by using Strong Orange and Deep Navy. I chose these colours because Anne Johnston, in her Color By Accident, recommended them for producing interesting neutrals.

Strong Orange with increasing amounts of Deep Navy
Knowing that the navy would readily overwhelm the orange, as dark colours do, I began with a mix of 17 parts orange and 1 part navy, producing a warm brown. Gradually, I upped the proportion of navy to the point that I was using equal parts of orange and navy, which produced a dark charcoal.

With a weaker concentration of dye, the warm brown would translate into a sand beige, and the charcoal would become a neutral grey.

I learned from Anne Johnston that all commercially available dyes are either pure pigments, or a blend of pure pigments. She recommends that dyers acquire these 14 pure pigments and become familiar with the way they behave. So I chose pure pigments for this trial. Another time I might try the same experiment with Strong Orange and Mixing Blue.

Diane Franklin's Dyeing Alchemy referred me to a page on the Jacquard website, which gives recipes that use 11 basic pigments to create 71 mixed colours. I was immediately drawn to the recipe for chartreuse, which I have always found to be an interesting colour.  The Jacquard chart recommends 64 parts Lemon Yellow mixed with 1 part Medium Blue.  Isn't it surprising how such a tiny amount of dark dye can change the character of a light colour? (Jacquard's Lemon Yellow is the equivalent of Pro-Chem Sun Yellow and their Medium Blue matches Pro-Chem's Basic Blue.)

I found the result was a little "brighter" and "happier" than I wanted, so I tried again, substituting black dye for the Basic Blue, which gave a more "interesting" mix. You can see the two results below.
chartreuse, 64 g Sun Yellow : 1 g Basic Blue (on left) and
50 g Sun Yellow : 1 g Black (on right)
Finally, I was interested in the recipe for Periwinkle. I grew to love this colour as the result of one of our 12 by the dozen challenges. Jacquard recommends a mix of 9 parts Navy / 4 parts Fuchsia / 4 parts Cobalt Blue, one of the few recipes requiring three pure pigments. This translates to 9 parts Deep Navy / 4 parts Fuchsia / 4 parts Mixing Blue, using the Pro-Chem names.
value gradation of periwinkle
I made a gradation of values using this mix, producing some colours that I'm sure I will use in my work. The photo has washed out the colour of the lighter end of the range, so you will have to trust me on this: they are lovely. The starting solution was mixed to 6% depth of shade, which was too dark, and next time I would begin with a depth of shade set at 2 or 3%.


Laura McGrath said...

Ann Johnston's DVD is the only one I've ever bought, I love it! Love your gradations and neutrals, I have a few pieces to snow dye today and going to try the strong orange/navy mixture...

Vera Holmgren said...

Love your grading of orange and navy! I've used both "Color by accident" and the Jaquard page to mix Procion MX with very interesting results.

Maggi said...

Such a gorgeous range of colours.