Tuesday, 31 May 2011

hallelujah! Success with the Fructose Indigo vat

You can see that  one half of  this little vat is thick yellowy solid deposit. The liquid half  is a deep orange almost red.  I took 100ml out of this yesterday which is why there appears to be a cloudy blue bit in fact is empty with a bit of a deposit on the glass. .

 Today thanks to help  from Debbie and Jane  and Leena I managed the fructose indigo vat.

I heated 3 litres of water to 80 degrees C, tipped the contents of the little 400ml  vat in and stirred. Within 30 seconds  flakes of blue appeared on the yellowy  looking surface then a thick blue indigo flower.  After ten  minutes the colour of the water under the filmy surface was  a lime green then a orangey yellow. ( the colours of this type of vat seem different to that of the chemical reduction vat using thiourea dioxide.

The vat was at pH 10 and dye dyed well  the temperature dropped to 45 degrees,d dying cotton velvet then a length of merino tops a pale blue. . I dipped the cotton velvet into the vat 3 times and got a slightly deeper blue but I don't seem to have photographed it.  You don't seem to need to dip the fibres for very long.  Quite literally in and out. The colour change is either very slow or the stuff comes out blue and I need to go back to this vat and see if I can work out why this is.  Is the stuff coming out blue in the vat longer?  And as you can see there is a yellowy scum on the surface which washed off which I assume is  the deposit form the bottom of the vat.  I wonder if these fibres will crock.
Nb It would seem that you can make a stock solution just as we do with the thiourea vat which  could I think be very useful 

Monday, 30 May 2011

Fructose Vat -almost there.

I made up a 1:2::3 vat
15g indigo, 30g calcium hydroxide and 45g fructose
I made it up as as a small vat only 400ml and put it in a hot water bath to keep warm 

It started off a pale  blue colour with the indigo mixing with the calcium hydroxide and gradually reduced as you can see over about 15 minutes.   It dyed a piece of linen a pale blue then some silk also a pale blue.  I added 100ml of it to my vat of yesterday and got a very pale  greyish  blue but nothing else. Yesterday's vat was pH 9. The little vat was pH11+
Thanks to Leena and Debbie for suggestions.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

calcium hydroxide , fructose and indigo

This is really there for myself to clarify my thoughts but if you can make head or tail of it do make comments.

According to the information Michael Garcia gave us at ISEND this is a vat that should works so today I decided  to have a go.
For some mad reason  I mixed 25 g of natural indigo into a paste-I should have mixed up 10 g.
I started at 12 noon
I put about 6 litres into  a small stainless steel pot at 50 degrees and 1  tablespoon of calcium  hydroxide . This gave a pH of 10-11. I know Michael started off with a high pH
I also heated the vat as I think he started off with a  hot vat and cooled it .
I added 2 tablespoons of fructose
After an hour the vat showed signs of slight reduction  but dyed some cotton a very peculiar green .
The temperature rose to 65 degrees but the smell of a vat coming into order went and it had an odd smell.  The vat looked milky with grains of undissolved indigo on the surface.
by 3pm
 I tried removing some  of the vat and adding thiourea dioxide which reduced the vat very quickly and dyed  a sample a nice blue so I knew the vat was okay I just need to make the fructose work,.
Indigo grains had disappeared there was film on the surface but the ph dropped to 8-9.
a piece of cotton dyed a very pale blue.  Hooray I thought I am cracking it!
I left it for a bit and went back but the pH had dropped further  to pH7
At 5.30 I added 1 tablespoon of calcium hydroxide.  I added 75g of fructose , there was a film on the surface the vat looked a slightly murky yellow and  gas was coming off the surface.  I dyed some cotton a very pale blue and some linen a patchy green with some very pale patches.
However then the vat seemed to go off.
I finally  upended the remainder  of the fructose into the vat so I  had altogether added 250g (meaning  all this was very expensive vat) and left some linen in.  This dyed a  dark green oxidizing in the air but not to a full blue.
I am puzzled.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Weld or is it a triffid?


Its been growing in the greenhouse till Enys's  long suffering DH turfed it out to make way for the peppers.  It has started to seed so should  be bung full of dye. I am going to have one very big dye bath!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Michael Garcia Organic Indigo Vat Thoughts on Lime

I am getting more and more puzzled about this vat.
Michael Garcia  apparently used oyster shell to make his vat alkaline. Oyster shell s are 95% calcium Carbonate . When I asked him about this he said it was a joke! He  said he wanted to use mineral lime but was told nobody would think it was an organic vat. so he used crushed oyster shell, but he told us to use lime. Gardeners lime rather like Oyster shell is mostly calcium carbonate  and will only  make the vat mildly alkaline.  I have just made up a vat suing it and the vat is pH 7-8.  Builders lime on the other hand is what is known as slaked lime or calcium hydroxide and what is used in a zinc lime vat,. Michael Garcai  said to use lime as it was very active ( and technical formula h wrote down was calcium hydroxide) and the whole time at the back of my mind was the thought but how can oyster shells do this but the thought stayed at the back and never came to the front of my mind!  It is a long time since I did Chemistry!
Lime (apart form being a fruit) can mean:
Calcium Oxide- unslaked lime
Calcium hydroxide -slaked lime.
Fine but where do the oyster shells come in?

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Isend 2011 Colour Past Present and Future A very Personal View

 Auditorium Isend 2011.
Large Comfortable and well lit.and the hangings were naturally dyed

Harbour La Rochelle

On arrival we were given screen printed bags in natural dyes mine in Genista Tinctoria and alderbuckthorn which  for me set the tone for the conference which had  a principal  focus of commercial production of naturally dyed products and of  commercial production of natural dyes.  

The first two days   seemed a little  too full of scientists describing how they found out what dyes were used in ancient textiles whether these were ancient Andean textiles or old European ones, interesting but a bit dry although leavened a bit by people like India Flint. The Round table on Indigo day was principally the two commercial woad producers Woad inc and Blue de Lectoure and others and there was controlled and a very limited discussion about moving natural dyeing into industry which I found frustrating and annoying. In particular I would have liked the problem of indigo dyeing being consistently misrepresented as resulting in crocking and fading to be addressed. Someone else asked for a discussion on vats and given that Michael Garcia was mobbed about his organic indigo vat in the demonstrations it was shame that that was not there nor the description of the indigo dyeing by the Naga tribes which surprisingly came later and which was quite stunning with a description of the extraction of indigo from strobilanthes flaccidfolius from which they achieved a wonderful midnight blue. One group of tribes steamed their indigo after extraction and the shade went from mid blues to dark blues.   

Finally the last two days were for me the most interesting ones with   A talk on sustainable dyeing processes with dyestuffs based on renewable resources ,  slow dying, colour therapy for learning disabled artists-a very moving and appealing account from Karen Urbanek-. We heard about the revival of cochineal dyeing in Lanzarote as I had some of this cochineal to test and which was excellent I enjoyed this . I warmed too to  the speaker who described using discarded flowers from Culcutta market to dye with.
There were a lot of speakers  and they  all had only ten minutes to speak. The time keeping was rigidly controlled so that the conference ran like clockwork-it was very organised but oh! how we some time longed to see more. There was small wails of despair as Ms Angelina from Pisa University on being told she only had a few minutes shot through a series of fascinating research projects in Italy
MIchael Garcia with blue  from his organic vat using crushed oyster shells and  fructose.
Below Block printing

Purple from the root of lithospermum erythrorhizon
The demonstrations, labelled workshops, were a bit chaotic as by the time you got out from the afternoon talks and had a loo break the demo's were thronged and the popular ones were impossible to see. A booking system or a staggered timing would have helped here. Michel Garcia's organic vat was the one that I most wanted to see but it was sadly all in French and he was thronged with eager dyers although was kind enough to give us an English talk later on. His vat -organic because it came from organic natural ingredients and not artificial ones was fascinating. Michael Garcia used lime from crushed oyster shells and fructose or hennas to reduce the vat . Fantastic! And as soon as I have the ingredients I will start experimenting with it.
Another lovely vat was that of Mr Gasali Ademayo a Nigerian living in Mexico demonstrating Adire using indigo from balls of the native indigo plant of Nigeria. His balls looked like just woad balls but contained wood ash as well. Ian Howard of Woad Inc explained to me that there was view that adding wood ash to fermented balls increased the production of indigotin from the plant material.

A variety of outing were offered on Wednesday with a picnic and I went to a madder farm where we had a fascinating visit to the only commercial madder grower in France but even he only had a small percentage of his farm down to dye plants, -madder, & coreopsis .The farmer explained that madder was difficult to germinate that he was experimenting with regenerating a harvested field as madder even when harvested as he does with a converted potato digger comes back. The newly seed area had huge gaps between the plant. These are problems anyone growing madder knows and I felt sad that he seemed to have to reinvent the wheel.
 Newly madder field, not only was germination difficult but the young seedling were attacked by worms/

The trade stalls came form all over with the UK represented by amongst others The Mulberry Dyer ( officially France but I reckon we can claim her)! And who probably has the busiest stall on the market and Judy Hardman with beautiful hand knitted fair isle sweaters and her books too. There were a lot of stalls selling made times and a variety of scarves and stoles abounded. My DH treated me to wonderful patterned and stitched scarf form the Weavers Studio from India quite yummy but predictably I bought dyes including some fabulous indigo from Bangladesh , hopefully some from El Salvador and some Cochineal from Lanzarote.
 Judy Hardmans stall + her DH
 The Weavers Studio . The scarf on the left was the type  like my 60th birthday present form DH ONLY MINE IS NICER! Centre piece is sampler of shibori  used.

I loved it -had a fabulous time and met lots of lovely people and really enjoyed the really outstanding leisurely lunches although if they had catered for my food allergy diet there was no sign of it, . I adopted the policy of sitting wherever there was a seat at lunch and met some fascinating people who I really enjoyed chatting too and it was meeting the other artisan dyers from all over the worls and renewing friendships that was one of the most important parts of the conference.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

ISEND 2011

I know  is long time since I posted I have been incredibly busy , partly making three jackets to wear at ISEND 2011 the International Symposium Exhibition Natural Dye Conference in La Rochelle In France
I will be writing  more but here is  a photo of the Indigo Ladies . We all  met up while visiting a madder France and I am the second to last on the right wearing an indigo dyed felt jacket . Gill Burbridge made the jacket and I dyed it.