52 weeks of surface design: week two: ice dyeing!
have you all ever tried this? it’s so fun!
this week’s surface design experiment was inspired by my online pal @apriltwoeightyquilts who makes stunning quilts and home accessories out of hand dyed fabric. she graciously and generously shared some of her tips on ice dyeing with me over the past few weeks. her tips, coupled with a tutorial on @dharmatradingco website (this tutorial in particular) had me ice dyeing in no time. i had tried it once when i was the resident artist at lillstreet in chicago (using snow!), but it had been a few years and i thought i’d give it a shot as a part of this 52 weeks project.
it’s a pretty easy process. basically, you need ice, powdered fiber reactive MX dyes, a bin with sides, and some sort of rack to sit in the bin on which your fabric will in turn sit, allowing dye and water to precipitate through as the ice melts (the rack keeps the fabric from touching the puddle of melted ice and dye in the bin below). make sure to soak your fabric in a soda ash solution first, pile on ice, sprinkle on dye powder...and wait for the ice to melt. voila!
i found that the ice took a long time to melt, longer than one might expect. i got everything set up in the afternoon, and let all of them sit more or less overnight, washing the fabrics out in the morning. the first time i played with ice dyeing, last week, i used two colors i had on hand on each piece of fabric. the second time, i used only one color of dye per piece of fabric. what’s fun is that you can really play around…keeping the colors you use limited or playing around with more than one color, seeing how they colors mix and react with one another as the ice melts. it’s a really serendipitous, surprising process, you never know exactly how a finished piece will look, and i think that’s the fun of it. all of the fabrics seen above were dyed with only one color, and the fabric below is a mix of yellow and green.