Loosen Up, Melly!

I have been questioning what do do about dye. Should I continue to us it? Do I have the space to use it? Can I use it in a different way? I love working with dye, I love the vibrancy, the hand, the way it lays on cloth as you apply it. But being diagnosed with cancer makes me question the efficacy of its use. I know using dyes did not cause or (directly) contribute to my having gotten cancer. But as a human being living on this planet, I find it difficult not to think that the waste, toxicity and pollution in the world, caused by humans, isn’t the cause in some way. 

I use all precautions when using and mixing dye and always have. Dust masks, gas masks, gloves, the works. But I still own powders and I have concentrates mixed and ready. I also have yards of white cloth. So I don’t think that I will stop using it just yet. It is different using dye in our tiny apartment, but that can be worked around by.. well… working small. Tiny apartment, tiny works of art.

I snagged some stencils when I was at the Great American Scrapbook Convention. In an effort to get my creative juices flowing in new ways I am playing with my supplies. I used a ruling pen and a dauber to print the abc stencil.

This swan was originally drawn in my journal while traveling in Luzerne last year. Now it is getting a workout in thickened dyes. I would love to make a Sew-plies purse using Inspired to Quilt techniques, while playing, having fun and seeing what I can do with dye, in my tiny apartment, with the supplies I now use. Ruling pen, freezer paper, stencils…

Here I play with thickener and liquid dyes.

I want to get back to it but wanted to show you what I am up to. Let me know what you are doing this weekend, Comment and if you have a blog or Flickr, show me what you are up to!

5 thoughts on “Loosen Up, Melly!

  1. Today I’ll be deconstructed screen printing papers (primarily) with my book arts guild. My space is tiny, also — 300 sq ft for studio AND living. So I work small. Hope you have a great weekend!


  2. You know what I am up to!!! LOL! Stencils in my dreams, stencils as I weed, stencil ideas at the grocery store. I dye outside and if it was warmer, I’d do the stencil exercises with dye. I am more comfortable with dye, but hey! the purpose of classes are to challenge oneself, so paint it is! Our house is tiny (1000 sq feet), my feline helpers are a little too curious, and I am messy. I understand the concerns about dyes and the enviroment. My perspective is that our food is a major factor in the rise in cancer rates. I grew up eating what we raised and grew. I know how real food should look and smell like when used. I quit eating meat when the smell and liquids I saw cooking it, were foreign. When I get meet from my farming relatives for C, it doesn’t cook or smell like the store bought. I can only imagine what they do to our water, veggies, and fruits. My Gram died of bone cancer 30 years ago. No one had heard of multiple myeloma then. We have had 4 friends pass away from it in the last 2 years. Something is going on.
    Well aren’t I an uplifting shinny penny this morning!? Sorry. Back to art. When I signed up for the stencil class, I thought I’d make a few stencils, play with some fabric and paint. Little did I know that I would be seeing stencil opportunities in my sleep. I have done many things in this class that were either a challenge or new to me. Thank you, for always causing me to stretch and grow. xoxo


  3. well your pieces are real fine— what about natural dyes? I grew wode in a windowsill pot, and I live in an apartment too– Here are some sites:
    Extracting Dye
    and I’ve done Indigo with Jude in buckets (better outside but okay inside — supplies are cheap at:
    and paid by check since I have no credit, debit or pay pal.
    I’ve also used cumin (the spice) with vinegar and it holds well for a nice golden yellow, and Black Walnuts make a nice dye too…here’s one of mine http://mscomfortzone.blogspot.com/2012/05/oak-dyed-bundles-revealed.html


  4. Love how you work so efficiently in a small space–it’s inspiring! This weekend I’m experimenting with the stencils I purchased at GASC. I bought one in the wrong size, so I figured out how to make it work. http://wp.me/p2H1i-2j9

    The dye/paint/varnish problem is a puzzle to solve. Living in the desert, we don’t have water to spare, so I don’t use acrylic paints anymore. It’s not fear so much as respect for the earth I live on.


  5. I just posted about my current experiments: http://tiedyejudy.blogspot.com/2012/06/experimenting-on-twill.html. You know I’m a dye freak, and continue to play with them as much as possible. I have a little more space than you do, but I’m working on this piece in my work room, and plan to get into using stencils and thickened dye a lot in the next month. I have not tried stenciling with dye per se, but remember using masks in your class, so I think it will be fun to experiment! I love what you are doing, and can’t wait to see more!
    On the chemical aspect, I can’t think of anything to add… everything has chemicals of one kind or another – paints, discharge agents, glues, brush cleaners… I just try to use common sense with whatever I’m using.
    Have fun with your experiments!


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