Tag Archives: spiral dyeing

The Last Shift

Construction begins…

All the workshops are done, so now it’s time to transform piles of print and spiral dyed fabric into a brilliant banner.

I’ve dyed the background fabric and the ribbon streamers.

All the scroll text is cut out. I cut the letters with bondaweb so they’ll stay in position when I stitch them.

The back panel has had its ‘first fix’ with postcard prints from years 3-6. I’ve used a brick wall pattern with stripes of different colours to echo the stripey brickwork in Greenside miners’ cottages.

This will make the back of the banner visually interesting as the children march along the street.

I’m off to do hospital workshops tomorrow – a silk painted sea, amongst other things …so more updates on Thursday ­čśŐ

My Journey continues

Well, that was a busy month of workshops. There is now a huge stash of gorgeously coloured fabric in my work room, awaiting transformation into the triptych for the church.

The Lab Youth Group got to try fabric painting. The aim was the same as for the spiral dyeing workshops – using colour to represent ideas and emotions linked to each participant’s ‘Journey’ to and with the group. By working with thickened dye they could also use shapes and mark making to further explore their ideas.

All in one short session so there was time to make (and eat) pancakes too!


Young people from Heaton Manor also got to try their skills at fabric painting. Beautiful mark making and very thoughtful comments about how colour could show our moods and emotions. Such a wide variety of images emerging during the afternoon session.

Since the workshops finished I’ve been busy thinking about the writing from all the groups and the colours created in the fabric workshops. Now I’ve got ideas in my sketchbook so its time for me to get creating….

My Journey

The project continues…

This week has seen more dyeing workshops for groups at Heaton Baptist Church. Spiral dyeing is such a great activity, a quick way to achieve exciting colour patterns and effects.

It’s been interesting to hear people’s ideas as they’ve added the colour, thinking about family, the energy of toddlers and so on.

We had lots of colour mixing going on too – thinking about how to mix more colours from the choices of yellow, red, turquoise, navy and brown.┬áSometimes only one colour will do to sum things up…


Sometimes the trickiest bit is twisting the square of fabric into a spiral – especially when there’s a little one needing a cuddle too!


Whatever, the colour combination, once the dye is applied, the fabric spiral is slipped into a plastic bag and left to ‘cure’ for 24 hours.


For the third workshop this week, with a group of young secondary school pupils, I took a different approach. First, we talked about creating a timeline of events and thinking about the mood and emotions associated with those events – how did we feel on waking up, what was it like going to school facing the strong winds of Storm Henry? The group used marker pens to draw or write out their timeline on paper, then they were asked to try and paint a piece of fabric with thickened dye, using different colours and marks to represent the feelings from their timelines.┬áThis resulted in 5 very personal and individual pieces.

All the dyes used in this project are fibre reactive type that works well with cotton fabrics. They can be mixed with a seaweed based thickener to make them into paint that can then be applied to fabric with a paintbrush, stick, sponge or other implement.