Here you can see Dianne preparing the fabric by pre-soaking it in a soda ash solution, 5 tbs soda ash to 8 cups of hot water. The cloth is wrung out and crumpled artfully on the screening, positioned above the tray. (Leftover soda ash solution may be saved and stored indefinitely.)
Above, Colleen builds up a 3-inch mound of snow on top of the cotton ...
... and drizzles dye solution generously on top of the snow.
Michele also arranged some prepared cotton underneath the screening, to catch any surplus dye solution.
The idea is to allow the snow to melt slowly, causing a random application of the various dyes over a long period of time, and allowing blended-pigment dyes to split into their components to produce serendipitous results. Eventually the trays were moved inside to promote the melting.
The results? Distinctly underwhelming.
For the piece above, I used four pure colours: strong orange, fuchsia, mixing red and boysenberry. Very little orange or boysenberry appeared.
For these two, I used mixed-pigment dyes (pearl grey, safari grey, stormy grey, and blue violet.) The one on the bottom of the tray (below) was even more boring.
Not one to waste perfectly good PFD cotton, I ripped each of the three one-meter pieces in half and went back at it, using leftover dye solution.
What was originally done with boysenberry / fuchsia / mixing red / strong orange was divided in two, with one half getting a generous dose of strong orange, and the other a good dousing of boysenberry. Much better results, shown below.
|extra "strong orange" applied|
|extra boysenberry applied|
One of the smaller bits done in greys was topped up with more blue-violet and black.
Another with more of the greys plus nickel.
Another with all the leftover greys, which could make an interesting sky.
And finally some leftover chartreuse and the remaining blue-violet on this one.
|first stage: three greys and blue-violet|
second stage: chartreuse and more blue-violet
I'm happy with these and will definitely be using them in my work.
Takeaway: don't approach snow dyeing with a light hand. Use more dye than you think you need and opt for mixed-pigment dyes to produce happy accidents. Consider using complementary colours rather than analogous for maximum impact.