Fiber Reactive Dyeing Class

Susan Stratton-Miller (photo by Mary Gavan)

Erin Newman

On Nov. 8, instructor Mary Gavan put on another fabulous dyeing class where Art Club members dyed two velvet scarves using fiber-reactive dyes. These are cold-water dyes that are fixed chemically instead of with heat. They form a strong bond with natural fibers. This makes it the most permanent and wash-fast of home-use dyes.

For the burn-out cut scarf, we soaked the cut velvet scarf in a bath of soda ash (the fixative) before applying the various dye colors with a sumi brush.

For the solid velvet scarf, students used Shibori resist techniques, then soaked the scarf in a soda ash bath before applying dye. The scarf rests for 24 hours for the best dye results and is washed out later.

Shibori means “to wring, squeeze, and press” in Japanese. The process can produce a number of different patterns on fabric. In class, we used clothes pins, rubber bands, popsicle sticks, beans, string, and twine to resist the dye and create patterns on the scarves.

This is the second scarf dyeing class that Mary has instructed. Both classes have been big hits with the Art Club students. We look forward to having Mary back in 2024 with more fabric dyeing classes and using different techniques.