Last weekend I spent three days with Barbara Setsu Pickett and Michael Pickett at the Oregon College of Art and Craft immersed in dying silk using a product called Colorhue. I was not familiar with it, but after time spent trying numerous techniques, I’m sold on it, enough so, I purchased the ten-bottle set. You don’t have to heat set the dye, mix it with anything except water, and what’s really impressive is how quickly Colorhue dyes fabric–in minutes. When you rinse the fabric a barely perceptible amount of color comes out in the rinse water, and it doesn’t have to be hot. With other fabric dyes, you have to spend a long time rinsing your fabric in hot, hot water until no more dye rinses out. You start to believe the fabric will never stop bleeding.
One of the first techniques we tried was picking up pattern by laying silk over any hard textural surface. I brought some large stamps, which were quite successful in creating visual texture and I could see would make great backgrounds. I also tried a piece of rubber mat used under carpets to prevent them from slipping. Equally successful. The last thing I tried was a piece of plasticized wallpaper. It was less successful, only because the pattern wasn’t as pronounced as that on the stamps and rubber mat.