Well who knew the shopping list for the Shibori dyeing course was going to be so interesting.
I had booked the March 2016 weekend course at Cowslip Workshops with Janice Gunner, author of the wonderful book Shibori for Textile Artists, last November, before I went to New Zealand so that I would have something to look forward to when I came home (apart from the joy of seeing Bookhound after a month away of course) and then hadn't really given it another thought until I turned the page in the diary and there it was, imminent.
So I dug out the list of course requirements and set off for Poundland in search of a cat litter tray, a 5 litre (minimum) bucket, rubber gloves, a face mask, a plastic measuring jug, some marbles, screws, soft string and one of those great big plastic holdalls to put it all in.
Oh and I nearly forgot...a length of drainpipe.
Swathing myself head to foot in navy blue seemed like a good plan and off I went on the Saturday morning, counting my blessings that I only live twenty minutes away from Cowslip when everyone else had driven up from deepest Cornwall or down from Bristol.
Day One was all about preparation, but only after Janice had us drooling over her own collection of hand-dyed fabrics before de-mystifying the whole process with some careful instructions.
Stitch-resist, where rows of stitches ( a bit like uneven smocking ) are then gathered and knotted was the order of the day. Mokume (wood grain) is created from straight lines, Karamatsu (larch) from the semi-circles on folded cloth.
And this, when gathered, took on something akin to Miss Havisham's glove...
But with any luck those half circles, done on the fold of double fabric, where going to emerge like a row of beautiful dandelion heads
And then there was the drainpipe, Arashi shibori.
For this I made a tight fitting sleeve that rolled onto the pipe, gathering itself along the way...
Note the £1 cat litter tray that proved to be the best, and next to the bucket, the most essential bit of kit.
Day Two was the exciting bit, the dye vat. On with the masks and the gloves as we mixed soda ash (to fix the dye) and sodium hydrosulphite with the water (to remove the oxygen) before adding the indigo grains and then not over stirring.
The object is to keep air out of the vat which is then sealed with cling film across the surface while it 'stands' for an hour and does the alchemy thing and goes green.
Everything to be dyed is then immersed in water to be soaked out ready for the vat, giving time for some more preparation.
The results tomorrow.