The Happy Pigment

Tie dye, fabric and textiles artist and lover


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Dyeing up a storm

Posting “tomorrow” turned into posting a week later! But I always get to things eventually! One day I’ll have all the time I need to concentrate on my passions but for the moment bursts of momentum will have to do.

I’ve finally got around to starting on dyeing doona/duvet cover sets. The first one has turned out spectacularly! I’m very happy with it, so it’s up in my Etsy shop. Which you can visit here.

I used the colour mermaid dream in the green section and love how it turned but I’ve almost run out of it so the next one I do will have Kelly green instead.

The next few pieces I’m in love with are smaller. They were originally all going to be hung on canvas but I’m think some might look really great as a motif on the back of a denim jacket or something like that. I would love to do custom orders like that!

I can’t wait to get to the next few doona/duvet covers that I’ve got waiting to be dyed but it’s hubby’s birthday this week and my parents are coming to town so family matters will take priority this week!

Stay tuned for more colourful explorations! ✌️

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Slowly but surely

The year is getting away from me! I’ve been doing things in bursts lately but I’m trying now to gain some consistency in my approach. I found I was spreading myself to thin again, as is a common occurrence in motherhood!

So here a few pics of things that I’ve done and loved from a few months back and tomorrow I’ll post some more recent works.

Rainbow ice dyed spiral hoodie that’s available in my Etsy shop.

Fabric art on canvas “circular sunset”

Wall hanging made from an up cycled table runner.

That’s all for today stay tuned ✌️


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Rainbows and Diamonds

I enjoy rainbows as much as the next person. They are stunningly beautiful in nature, whimsical even. But I don’t like over doing the rainbow theme when I’m dyeing things. That said, I have been doing some rainbows spiral dyes lately. It’s an irresistible pattern for baby clothes and blankets. Which even though my baby doesn’t need anymore I still love doing them.

diamond-rainbow

I recently ordered a pair of haemostats with my last lot of dyes, just to see how they would work when folding spirals. Muslin is such a soft and pliable fabric, and I didn’t take that into account when I was using the haemostats. They didn’t wreck the fabric but rather altered the design slightly. And thats where the diamond comes into the story. Because of the shape of the haemostats  point, the usually circular spiral turned out more like a diamond which I actually really enjoyed!

One of my favourite methods of dyeing is ice dyeing, aka snow dyeing. I don’t know much about the history of it, thats probably something I should look into! But I do know there are a few different ways to do it and each way yields a different result. The way I choose to do spirals is to apply the dye powder directly to the fabric. I use a soft dry paint brush to apply the dye powder. Its really important to note that when ice dyeing you should always where gloves and a dust mask! These dyes are hard to get off skin and the powder is so fine that it’s just too easy to inhale it.

spiral-ice-dye-stage-1

Because this was a smaller piece I was able to use rubber bands to hold it all together. On a larger piece I would use sinew as rubber bands will just bend it instead of keeping it flat. I also use the rubber bands or sinew to mark out the sections when doing a spiral, it just makes it easier for someone like me who is not usually very visually or mathematically minded. As usual I soak all items in soda ash (sodium carbonate) which I buy in crystal form from the supermarket to fix the dye. I use Procion Mx fibre reactive dyes for all my dyeing. The colours that I used in this one were Chinese red, daffodil, mermaids dream, cerulean blue and grape. After the dry dye is applied then it is covered with ice.

spiral-ice-dye-stage-2

I get 4kg bags of ice from our local service station or supermarket for around $1 a kg. Using more or less ice will also yield different results. After it’s covered with ice it’s left to melt and once the ice is all melted it’s left to kind of cure for a minimum of 6hrs or preferably overnight. I most often do all my dyeing at night after the kids have gone to bed then I rinse them out sometime in the morning. That way there are no interruptions and for safety sake I don’t like have the kids close by. J who is 7 can watch if he’s wearing a dust mask.

spiral-ice-dye-stage-3

After the item, in this case muslin wrap has been left to cure it’s time to rinse it out. Starting with cold water I rinse with the rubber bands or sinew still in place and as more of the dye particles come away I make the water warmer and remove the bands. The warmer water help to remove any of the dye particles that haven’t bonded to the fibres. Once the water runs clear the item can be washed on a warm machine wash. I use a gentle spin cycle just incase. And the result is …..

small-rainbow-spiral

Amazing!

Until next time,

Always Love xx