Paste-resist dyeing

So tonight I thought I’d try paste-resist dyeing, which is a technique used in traditional Japanese fabric design; it’s a bit like batik, in that you block out areas of cloth in a negative design and then dye the fabric. Instead of wax, though, you use a paste – in Japan I think they use rice flour, but I found this recipe by Irena Boobyer on the Exeter University website, which uses plain flour and caustic soda. Unfortunately, what they didn’t mention at the ‘simmer until the liquid becomes transparent’ stage is that this part takes ^hours^. At the moment it’s 11.20 at night and I’m still waiting for it to go clear. Hopefully, though, tomorrow I’ll be able to paint on the design and make some lovely fabric for a summer dress (just in case the sun ever comes back).

I’m thinking of a design inspired by E A Séguy’s beautiful turn of the century floral designs, which I’ve loved since I was a child. Unfortunately my dyeing skills don’t extend to the vivid colour schemes he used, so I’m going to adapt them to work with the natural fabric colour and a deep navy blue. Watch this space for the results…

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