Monday, July 20, 2009

everything's all a-boil

The past few weeks have been all about new colors and patterns here at 5 o'clock crows. Yards of fabric have been waxed and dyed; now it's time to remove the wax. This part is a little bit like my birthday- I may have some idea of how the fabric will look, but I never really know until the wax is boiled out and the fabric is dried and pressed.

So much of my dyeing process is about changing the state of something and combining opposites. Start with white fabric, add wax, add salt, water, and dye, drain, add fresh water and boil, end with yards of saturated colors and different patterns. I often fancy myself some sort of an alchemist.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
- Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1*

I have no doubt that the magic in the process is what keeps me so hooked. I really don't know what I would do if I couldn't have this level of engagement with adding wax and color to fabric. Preposterous, undoubtedly! But how I love it...

I've been boiling out yards and yards of fabric over the last few days and will continue to do so for most of this week. I'll be posting some preview pics as I get them.

In the meantime, here's a shot of some unboiled hot pink fabric. You can see the top piece from this picture in the boil photo at the top, all friendly with the orange.

I'm loving these hot summer colors. Yum!

*Shakespeare, William. The Globe Illustrated Shakespeare: The Complete Works Annotated. Howard Staunton ed. New York: Gramercy Books, 1993.


Approachable Art said...

Oh how beautiful!! I admit to being intimidated by boiling wax out of fabric... I've read quite a lot about it and have done a lot of alternative wax work in my career and it still scares me. I admire what you're doing here more than I can say!

Sara Hopp Harper said...

Thanks so much for the compliment!

I was really intimidated by boiling out the wax for a long time when I started working with batik. But I love working with wax so I kept putting it on fabric and then dyeing it and eventually I had to boil it out or throw it away. Definitely intimidating!

I'm still a little scared of lighting my propane burner- I have to use the really LONG lighter or matches- lol.