I’ve been enjoying my life of laziness – sleeping in, lounging about, and puttering around at not much of anything. But three days of this is more than enough! Time to get back into the studio.
Well, sort of. I’m still percolating on the color-study warp, and while I’m busily writing chapters of the book, I want something physical to play with, too!
So here is my dyer’s challenge:
This is a T-shirt from work – they handed them out to commemorate the opening of the camera door on our satellite, a momentous occasion known as “First Light”. It’s the moment when you find out whether your carefully-designed, lovingly-built, breathtakingly-launched satellite will actually do what you are hoping/expecting it will. In this case, it was the culmination of four years of hard work from everyone at the company.
Okay, so it’s a momentous occasion. But it’s still a black T-shirt. And I couldn’t possibly be caught dead in anything solid black. At least, not at work, where I’m renowned for wearing tie-dye shirts. (Our CEO is fond of pointing out to visitors that I even have matching tie-dye socks!) So clearly, the gauntlet had been thrown.
But I didn’t have time to take up the challenge in December, being too busy disassembling Emmy, shipping her, reassembling her, weaving a project for Handwoven, judging a show, teaching a workshop, and all those other distracting bits and pieces. So my SkySat-1 First Light T-shirt has been sitting lonely in a closet ever since.
But no more. This weekend I’m going to fix that. I’m armed with all sorts of toys, including discharge paste, bleach, a full range of fiber-reactive dyes, and some newly-purchased vat dyes that I’d love to play with. And, in addition to a couple of First Light T-shirts (I pinched a few extras from the pile of leftovers, just in case my first attempt went wrong), I have a bathrobe, five long-sleeved T-shirts, two short-sleeved T-shirts, three bras, four sweatshirts, and a partridge in a pear tree that also need dyeing. So clearly, it’s time for a dye day.
What am I planning on doing with my First Light T-shirts? I’m not sure yet, but a starburst on the back (centered on the image in the photo above) and a smaller starburst centered on the Skybox logo on front seem like a good start. I plan to try discharge paste and bleach on the hem of one of the T-shirts so I can get an idea of how much color can be removed. And then I think I will try illumination dyeing with vat dyes.
What is illumination dyeing, you ask? It’s a process where you remove one dye while simultaneously adding another. So, instead of black, I’d wind up with the color of the illumination dye. Vat dyes turn out to be great for this because the same process that reduces the vat dye into soluble form also strips color from most dyes. Obviously this is something totally exciting that must be played with. (Because, as the kittens have explained, everything is a cat toy!)
So I’m going to spend the next day or two figuring out what I want to dye when, and experimenting with different methods of discharge. And then I’ll spend all weekend dyeing, discharging, and re-dyeing.
Meanwhile, several people have asked how effective a guard kitten could possibly be. Here’s Fritz to show you how he protects my laundry, as he bravely drives off an attacker, the Evil Hair Monster, with teeth and claws. Bravo, Fritz!