Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 12, 2013

Hi everyone,

So much has been happening and I want to share it with you.  After practicing my hand at eco-dyeing, I've been stenciling designs on the onesies.  My most recent work includes Halloween and fall items.
Take a look and see what you think!

Today I'm going to work on decorating bibs.  A local toy store that has taken some of my onesies on consignment suggested that I make some bibs for their store.  I will also be getting some farm themed onesies together to show a store that expressed interest in that line.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions! Thanks.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What are your favorite natural dyes?

Hey guys!

What are your favorite natural dyes? And what colors do they make?

One of my favorites is the cochineal dye which produces a bright red.

Friday, August 16, 2013

How dangerous are synthetic dyes for your child's skin?

There are a lot of conflicting reports on the web about whether or not dyes are as harmful as they seem. In our day and age, it is nearly impossible to avoid synthetic dyes entirely. They are in everything from Jello, vitamins and candy, to pickles, flowers and even diapers! While we cannot eradicate synthetic dyes from our lives, we can make a conscious effort to avoid them when reasonably possible.

Some interesting points to note include:

American children have been found in one study to have 18 times more chemicals in their systems than their parents. These chemicals include PBDE's (flame retardants) and phthalates (property of plastics). Where are these chemicals present? Foods, body lotions/washes and clothing.
Health risks of PBDE's (Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers) include liver, thyroid and neurological damage, with an extreme health risk to fetuses, babies and children. Health risks of phthalates (found in our children, soft toys, lotions, shampoos, cosmetics etc.) include disrupted hormone levels and reproductive defects. See’-bodies/ for a full list of dangerous chemicals in our food and clothing, along with medical studies information.

Dye workers in dye plants are 40% more likely to develop tumors, cancers and various diseases. A study in Japan found that dye workers were at an increased risk of developing cancers (including lung), cerebrovascular disease and tumors. These increased numbers have been noted at dye factories in America as-well.

Corporate America, including Wal-Mart, Target and Gap, put pressure on harmful dye companies to mass produce synthetic dyes, despite known environmental impacts.  In one town in China, over 22,000 tons of harmful post dye bath materials were dumped in a river, killed off the fish life and turned the river red, and then into a sludge. Towns, ecosystems and lifeforms were devastated by the pollution. The corporations behind these devastations have not taken responsibility for these travesties. See this Wall Street article for more on the environmental impacts of synthetic dye manufacturing in countries that do not regulate their dye production and pollution impacts.

Synthetically dyed clothing do impact our children's skin! Research has shown that our children have high levels of harmful toxins and chemicals in their systems that could have been transferred over from their clothing. Our skin is porous and absorbent which means that prolonged exposure to synthetic dyes, made with toxins and carcinogens, could have long lasting impacts on our health. In Europe, many of the most harmful dyes have been banned from the markets, but the United States has yet to begin a campaign again dyes that include known carcinogens. Synthetic dyes in our clothing are believed to contribute to rashes, skin irritations, eczema, acne, headaches, problems concentrating and even allergies.’-bodies/

As previously noted, avoiding synthetic dyes all around is near impossible (imagine the hassle trying to find business casual outfits made from organic cotton and plant dyes...) but whenever  you have the opportunity to do so, try purchasing an eco-friendly, naturally dyed (or better yet, eco-printed) garment. Your environmental footprint will be ever so slightly diminished and you will be contributing to a growing movement against harmful chemicals. Let's become a little more green everyday.

Follow this link for some eco-printed, 100 percent organic cotton, hand-painted infant clothing I am working on.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What Natural Dyes Make These Colors?

Quick, what natural dyes make muted pinks and purples?

Check out this organic, naturally dyed onesie on my etsy!

Answer: Ferns and Logwood Bark!

Eco-printing, dyeing, hand-painting, oh my!

Hey y'all!

My Etsy is finally up and running. After several months of chronicling my journey and learning more and more about natural dyeing, I am now finally starting to showcase my products on my easy account. Come check out my items for sale and please give me any feedback you may have. Happy browsing!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

August 13th, 2013

Hi everyone!  Welcome back.  After my trip to Wisconsin for the India Flint workshop, I have been busy painting, dyeing and now eco-dyeing.  My most recent work has focused on improving my technique in getting the print from plants onto the cotton fabric.  Over the last two days I have been able to get a few good impressions, including that of several zinnia flowers.  I love the anticipation of opening up a bundle to see what the results are.

Here's an interesting onesie that was folded and dyed with logwood.  The band in the middle looked like it needed some embellishment, so I decided to try leaf pounding using redbud leaves.  Some of the leaves were more purple, while another was green.  I have washed this garment several times without the leaf impressions fading.Take a look at the results.

close-up of the leaves
onesie dyed in logwood

Sunday, July 14, 2013

MISA Workshop Continued.....

July 14th, 2013

    It has been a busy and rewarding week.  I have learned the basics about eco-printing and can't wait to get started back here.  The recommended fabrics to bring were silk and wool, both of which were not available at the local JoAnn Fabrics, so I bought cotton and muslin.  The reason silk and wool were suggested is that they take the color and print the best.  My first attempt with the cotton yielded disappointing results.  I learned that cotton does not take up the color unless it has been pre-mordanted.

First Attempt

The instructor suggested that I use a milk mordant to bring out some color.  This was new to me, but I was told that a cellulose fabric needs a protein to set it.  I went back and redid a couple of the squares along with some donated silks.  One of the aspects of working with a small group like this is that everyone is willing to share.  Lucky for me!

Second Attempt

 This second attempt yielded better results.  The top two in the middle are silk.

Final Project
 Once all of the pieces were dyed, we stitched them together.  You can see the piece in the middle does not have much color on it.  I did not re-dye this piece, but chose to use it with other dyed pieces on top. We thought we were done at this point, but she surprised us by cutting up her sample into quarters and positioning it on another piece of fabric.  In fact, we could make those pieces even smaller!  I did not have the right piece of fabric to mount mine on, so I will complete it once I find something.

Book Before Dyeing

Another project we worked on was to make a book out of paper.  We stitched pieces of fabric onto the paper, then cut it so that it could be folded.  Here is mine before going into the dye bath.

The next step was to fill the pages with plant material found outside.  Above are a few pictures of my collections.  Once all of the pages have been filled, the book is wrapped tightly in a cloth and placed in the dye bath.


Final Outcome

This book can now be refolded and kept for notes and thoughts as I wander on my journey of eco-printing.  All in all this has been a wonderful workshop.  I enjoyed the company of my fellow dyers, the bike rides into town, the exploration at an Indian cemetery, the homemade soup by India Flint, the Apples to Apples game at night and of course, learning how to eco-dye!