Red Dyeing Day

I recently attended a Red Dyeing workshop with Trudi Pollard at her wonderfully relaxing hillside studio.This was a day to explore natural red dyes – Madder, Cochineal, Lac and Purple Carrots…

Trudi had samples to show how the colour achieved is influenced by mordants such as tin, iron, copper and also by the type and weight of fabric used.

Dyed pieces straight from the pots, purple carrots in stainless steel, copper and iron pots.

Purple carrots – great for dyeing but be careful if you cook with them, I’m told they turn everything a sludgy gray…

Now firstly, this was a red dyeing day. I think I managed to produce every colour BUT red…

I do love some of the results I achieved though, especially the Purple Carrots and Cochineal.  Above and below – Cochineal dyed Habutai silk

Cochineal on Cambodian silk organza

Cochineal with copper also on organza

The next four are Cochineal with Iron

Below – Lac, also on Habutai Silk.

Below – Purple carrots on Cambodian silk.

Dyed in purple carrots then partly dipped in a soda ash solution.

Purple Carrots in a copper pot

The next two are purple carrots in an iron pot. The first on silk organza the second on cotton.

We used two varieties of Madder, this one from India, both sides of the same piece of Cambodian silk.









Lastly, Holland Madder – the closest I got to red all day…bottom left was part dipped in vinegar post dyeing.

Beads and Leaves

Colour Project – Red, Part 7

French knitting using a skein of textured yarns.Torn paper and cut squares of red fabrics held together with a french knot.Fabric beads – above, all beads started with roughly the same size piece of fabric, wrapped and stitched. Below, lengths of fabric wrapped around a knitting needle and stitched.

In the last few days of  this month I discovered the bright red Bougainvillea leaves that I had collected and pressed when our vine was in  full flower several months ago. By chance I also found a box of overhead projector sheets in our office gathering dust. Above is the result of an evening of stitching; with a sharp needle it was fairly easy. I love the multi light shadow it creates, see below. Maybe someone has an overhead projector gathering dust…I wonder what it would look like on the wall?


Colour Project – Red, Part 6

Red polyester satin strips hand stitched onto backing. Below is the same piece when ironed flat. It would work better with a finer, less bouncy fabric with strips hemmed prior to stitching to backing.

Light weight card painted red, torn into strips and stitched to backing. The width of each strip is less than 1cm and it was not as fiddly as you would expect!Red sari silk strips above very primitively woven, below knitted.



Colour Project – Red, Part 5

1.5 x 1.5cm squares cut from red fabrics – silks, cottons, polyesters, t/shirting then threaded. I really like the effect…need to test how wearable it is.This is a sample from my first attempt at Breakdown Printing at a WAFTA workshop with tutor Linda Stokes. I’ve used cassette tape spools, bubble wrap and a piece of that puffy netting they put around mangoes to create the texture. We will be adding more layers and depth through additional printing and discharge at the second part of the workshop this Sunday.Another necklace style piece – same red fabrics cut in long thin triangles. It’s interesting how each type of fabric reacts differently….some twist, some bubble, some lie flat.



Threading and Snipping

Colour Project – Red, Part 4

2.5 cm strips threaded through double slits. Below –  0.5cm strips pushed through evenly spaced slits with a knitting needle.

Chenille style – Silk Dupion single top layer with fabrics in varying size randomly laid out underneath. Six layers stitched on the diagonal, snipped, folded back and secured with a french knot.

Five layers stitched on the straight grain and snipped on diagonal.

Hand Stitch

Colour Project – Red, Part 2

In early July I had a double hernia operation which has lead me to spend a lot more time resting on the couch than I imagined.  Therefore, most of the samples are created with hand stitch on a red wool blanket given to me a few weeks prior.

A variety of reds, hand dyed polyester and shot silk.  Variegated embroidery threads – originally planned as a background.Polyester satins.Trying to build up layers to create shadows and dimension…Dyed pre-op in Dylon “Tulip Red” on old cotton sheeting – I think it should be renamed “Salmon Pink”.  Lighter two shades placed in dye bath after other fabrics finished – testing out how much colour left.

July – Red

Colour Project – Red, Part 1

“Red rings inwardly with a determined and powerful intensity” – Vassily Kandinsky

“If one says ‘Red’ – the name of colour – and there are fifty people listening, it can be expected that there will be fifty reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different”. – Josef Albers

“Painters use red like spice”  – Derek Jarman

Berry, Heat, Passion, Anger, Valentines Day, Cochineal, Crimson, Fire, Socialism, Red Head, Raspberry, Power, Love, Rouge, Blood, Strawberry, Garnet, Ruby, Cherry, Cinnabar, Carmine, Red Herring, Scarlet, Claret, Wine, Turkey Red, Chilli, Apples, Tomato, Pomegranate, Burgundy, Stop, Lac, Christmas, Madder, Berry…

Red is flamboyant, exciting, dramatic, it screams look at me!  It’s alluring, sexy, tempestuous, energy absorbing, life giving and empowering…

Red represents love, passion, success…Chinese symbol of good fortune associated with courage, loyalty, honor, success, fertility, happiness…Red Roses, Rubies most romantic, symbolic of love, life, warmth…

Red also represents danger, anger, poison, guilt, sin, fire, sacrifice, power, impulsive and difficult to contain…mesmerizing and enchanting.

“Red is the ultimate cure for sadness.” –Bill Blass

“Of all the hues, reds have the most potency. If there is one electric blue, a dozen reds are so charged. Use them to punctuate white, burn into bronzes, or dynamite black”. – Jack Lenor Larsen