Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Dyeing Silks

Today we started dyeing our own playsilks. I'm using iDye for Natural Fabrics and it worked great. They make little packets of dye powder which are in a dissolvable pouch and you can actually do the thing in your washing machine... and it will dissolve and dye it all in one step and with no mess... but stovetop is still the best. I have a large stockpot which I don't care for so, ta da! A dye pot. I also had an old melamine kitchen utensil and since they've decided melamine isn't safe to have in your kitchen anymore, it is now the stirring fork for the dye pot. Lastly, you need some white vinegar and a pair of kitchen gloves.

I just did one silk to start and that was Leah's Chestnut silk. I used 18 cups of water and 1/3 cup of vinegar and 1/3 of the dye powder. I put the rest of it in a glass baby food jar for a later project.

We spent half an hour stirring the thing (it's a lot like making tapioca pudding, you just stand there and stir) and then she hung it out on the clothesline in the rain to rinse and dry.

We aren't just dyeing a collection of silks for baby Zac. We are also so excited to be making puppetry wet felted and silk storytelling aprons a la Suzanne Down:

Leah's is a woodland scene. Her silk will be the browns of the forest floor. Her animals will be a coyote, rabbit, squirrel, owl, and a robin.

Natalie will be dyeing hers next. Her vision is of a polar ocean scene with a seal and a polar bear for the finger puppets, and a rocky shore and some ice for the wet felted landscape. Her plan is to dye the whole silk Turquoise and then do part of it again in Royal Blue, for the deeper water. She's also thinking of a second puppetry apron, an African grasslands puppetry apron with an elephant and a giraffe.

Tonight Natalie is starting to build up the wet newspaper/flour/water paste for her paper mache masquerade ball mask for Romeo & Juliet.

And I was feeling guilty and rather wishing I had a brilliant idea of an art project for Leah when we read her Norse Myth "Freya's Wonderful Necklace." And, lo and behold, it is a legend where two characters turn into seals and have a battle on a rocky shore. So I LOVE the idea of doing this legend as a puppet show. All we need is to figure out how to make Freya's necklace... can it be embroidered onto one of the rocks, the one which Loki sits on? Or should Natalie actually make a necklace out of seed beads and sew it onto the background? Suzanne Down's book Around the World with Finger Puppet Animals is one I recommend to everyone doing early childhood work at home or at school. And it happily has a seal finger puppet pattern. Is this fate???

I don't know if Natalie will let Leah abscond with her polar sea story apron, but if we do puppetry for this fabulous Norse myth I will be sure to share it!

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