Natural Dyeing

For the natural dyeing process, I followed the dyeing protocol provided on Canvas.

First, I divided the wool according to the process and numbered it off 1 through 7, along with the cotton pieces. Next,I washed the 6 pieces of wool, half vigorously, and half softly. The wool smelled the same before and after it was washed, however, the wool washed vigorously appeared more soft and less condensed in the end. Opposing this, the wool washed softly became tighter and more compact, forming harder clumps. 

I then created the first mixture with tumeric and water. I dyed the #2 fabrics (unwashed, dyed) and the #3 fabrics (washed , dyed).

Next came creating the mordants and soaking the materials in each mixture! The first mixture was Alum and water.

The next mixture was tartaric acid.

Third was soda ash. This was an interesting surprise!

The final mixture was iron, another surprise!

In reflection, the wool that wasn’t pre-washed absorbed the dye more possibly due to the fibres absorbing the pigment straight away instead of being compromised by water first and having the ability to absorb larger amounts of saturated dye.

1)          What plant material did you choose and what colour did you expect before you put the fibers into your natural dye liquid?

I used tumeric. I expected a bold yellow hue, as the bright orange interior diluted with the brown outside and the water mordant would create this combination.

2)          How was the colour impacted by changing the ph value of the dye bath to alkaline vs acid?

By increasing the pH with alkaline substances, such as Iron or Soda Ash, the colour remained at the same hue, but the saturation changed, making the yellow vary in intensity. By decreasing the pH with acidic substancases, such as Tartaric Acid or Alum, the colour changed much more drastically, darkening and warming the colour and changing the hue entirely.

3)         How was the colour different between the cotton and the wool samples?

The cotton is less saturated overall in comparison to the wool, however, the soda ash mixture created a stronger saturation in the cotton than in the wool.

4)          To do this small natural dye experiment you used water in different ways and disposed it in a sink. List all the things the water picked up during this process which will travel down the drain.

Oils from wool, tumeric, dishsoap, iron, pieces of wool and cotton, tartaric acid, alum, soda ash.

5)          How does this dirty water get clean again?

The sink water goes to a local treatment plant, such as the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, the largest wastewater treatment facility in NYC. Complex processes are endured at these facilities, filtering and sifting the water, as separating solids from liquids and discarding of larger trash. The water is often treated with chemicals such as chlorine in order to restore the wastewater to drinking quality once again.

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