Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book Review: Dye Painting

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Dye Painting
Author: Ann Johnston

Author's web site:
Date: 1992
Publisher: American Quilters Society
ISBN: 0-89145-803-4
Length: 88 pages including full-page, full-color photos
Quote: “I am a dyer because I am a quiltmaker.”
Or: if you can’t find the color and pattern you need for a quilt, simply dye the fabric. This book gives tips, encouragement, and examples.
Dyestuffs, even some favorite “natural” plant-based ones, can be toxic if ingested. Ann Johnston recommends the Procion chemical dyes, which are relatively easy to get, colorfast, and nontoxic. That’s relatively nontoxic. She recommends using a face mask to avoid inhaling dye powders or recommended additives. You already knew that any dyestuffs other than food should be used outside the kitchen, with separate containers, and kept away from children and animals. While by-products of dyeing with some materials need special treatment as hazardous wastes, by-products of dyeing with the formulas Johnston provides can be treated like ordinary garbage: flush liquids, wrap solids, wash hands thoroughly.
Different dyestuffs react differently to temperature. Some natural dyes have to be boiled; Procion dyes “react at temperatures between 70 and 105” degrees Fahrenheit. Fabric will need to be preshrunk, and Permanent Press treatments will need to be scoured out, before dyeing.  Detailed instructions are given for preparing and dyeing different natural materials.
Some examples in this book are made with a fibre called viscose (U.K.) or rayon (U.S.). Made from wood that has been processed to look like cotton or silk, this material takes dyes beautifully. It’s often used in designer knock-offs and found hanging forlornly in secondhand stores, in the very latest styles and colors, worn once and doomed never to be worn with pleasure again. Although it’s also known as “artificial silk” or “art silk,” rayon reacts to water in ways more like paper than like silk; it can be cleaned, after a fashion, with chemicals, but the chemicals will smell worse and be more harmful than dirt. I don’t wear or work with rayon and don’t recommend that you do either. Any other thing that might happen to a dead tree is better for the environment than being made into rayon.
Good materials used in this book include natural plant fibres like cotton and linen, the fabrics Greens love. For years the petrochemical fibre industry has argued that our crowded planet could not be adequate;y clothed with cotton, linen, and animal hair materials alone. Greens are counter-punching by experimenting with plant fibres that have historically been less popular. This book does not contain tips on dyeing bamboo, milkweed, hemp, and other alternative fabrics.
Dye can be applied to fabric in any of the ways paint is applied to paper or canvas. This book gives plenty of examples of dye-painting with brushes, sprayers, sponges, stampers, silk screens. The fabric surface can be made uneven to vary the finished effect; fabric can be folded, tied, or spread over textures like chicken wire.
Uses for dye-painted cloth are not, of course, limited to quilts. This book shows examples of dye-painted clothing, bookcovers, linens, furniture, and wall hangings.
Although art doesn't go out of style, this book is more than twenty years old, and even the other American Quilters Society books listed on the last page may no longer be easy to find in stores and libraries. Craft guilds and people who  work in craft supply store industries will help compensate for whatever has gone out of date by the time you read Dye Painting

This is a Fair Trade Book. Other secondhand book dealers sell it cheaper, but this site sends 10% of the price of a secondhand book to the author (if we can find the author), or a charity of his or her choice. Ann Johnston has made herself easy to find--her web site is advertising classes and a new book--so if you send $5 for the book + $5 for shipping to salolianigodagewi @, we will send $1 to Ann Johnston. If you want three copies, that'll cost you $15 for the books + $5 for shipping, and we'll send $3 to Ann Johnston.