Dyeing with Friends

I have been volunteering at Greenville Center for Creative Arts for a few months. They have gallery space and offer classes and host studio artists. When I volunteer, I sit at the front desk mulling over proposing some classes. I love teaching and sharing and getting to know creative souls and I haven’t done much of that since we moved to South Carolina. This Summer I am offering two quilting workshops (and crossing my fingers that they fill!). Another class idea that I had was teaching shibori dyeing. It’s so much fun to do and quite “trendy” now in home dec and even clothing. After a lot of thought, I asked some neighborhood friends to be my guinea pigs and help me decide whether teaching a shibori class was feasible. (I offered one many years ago at a craft fair and did remember that it was a lot of work…)

The class idea was to dye 6 napkins, each trying out a different shibori technique. I knew that this class could not be for many students; dyeing takes lots of water and space to dump dye buckets and the venue where I want to teach has limited sinks. Here are some of the supplies I’d need to take – only some of the junk that makes shibori dyeing so fun.

When teaching a class like this, there are so many variables. The main one is how long each person takes to complete the tying or clamping or sewing of their piece. And that’s the creative part – they shouldn’t be rushed then. The actual dye time is set; it’s about an hour. I used to teach dyeing at my house in Illinois and the ladies would bring lunch and we’d eat and chat as the cloth sat in the dyebath. The class I would offer at The Art Center would cost a lot more and I’m not sure the participants would welcome “empty time”, which the dyeing time seems to be. Then there is rinsing and the super fun part – unwrapping the cloth and seeing the results – and then much more washing. My friends and I took so long that one woman had to leave as she had an appointment!

We did have a fun time and here are Gale’s napkins. Poor photo, but wonderful designs and color.

Cheri chose a blue green and had very nice results.

Debbie’s napkins turned out the best, as far as the dye color. They were a different weight from the others, looked to be mercerized and were woven in a twill pattern. Everything makes a difference when you’re dyeing.

Can you guess what I concluded???  I will not be teaching shibori… I’m disappointed but it’s way too much work and aggravation … I will keep hoping that the quilting workshops fill and dream up some less complicated ideas for the Fall session.

 

 

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14 thoughts on “Dyeing with Friends

  1. A very smart way to test drive a logistically tough workshop. I feel your pain, one year we did tie dyed t-shirts at OMK camp…130 campers over two days…we were dead on our feet!

    • Oh good grief! Sounds crazy. I dimly remember doing tie dyeing with my second graders. It was for a school fair and we sold them. I honestly can’t remember how I pulled it off. Things you do when you’re young!

  2. They look beautiful, it’s a shame that it’s a no go for a workshop but with the time it would take, it makes sense. I hope your quilting class fills up!

    • Thanks Emma. I forgot to add pictures of mine. I am dissapointed, but another reason is that I am being paid little to give these classes. ($15 @ hour!) No one makes money teaching crafts classes but I made more when I taught at home.

      • That makes sense, if it’s a lot of logistical planning and the pay is not great, it’s not worth doing. I am sure that you will have other ideas of great craft classes that will be worth doing though 🙂

  3. I’d love to take that workshop! But I am sure you’re making the right decision not to try and offer it–your friends lucked out, being guinea pigs!

    • I am thinking of selling them… Dharma has a nice assortment of napkins and I did order some. To put in my mythical Etsy shop…They are very fun Summer napkins. I have cleaned up the studio a bit and am hoping to start a lone star for my friend’s quilt shop (waiting ofr a package with fabric from her). The rain just will not let up and I can hear the weeds growing and happily cacking to each other.

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