Sunday, November 1, 2015

Drawn to the Dyepot

When I signed up for an India Flint class on Lopez Island last September I thought I was taking it for the "experience".  I had no intention of plant dyeing fabrics and clothing in the future, I just wanted to experience a person I knew would be inspiring.  And, after all, the title of the class indicated it would focus on making a garment from previously worn of my passions.

Oh, how naive could I have been?  So many have been seduced in the past, it was inevitable.  About the second day of class I began to think, "Hmmm, this could become addictive."  Yeah, right...

I've been out in my garage over the dyepot ever since.  I liken this process to painting in the dark.  You know which colors you picked but until you see how they all come together on the page you don't know what you're going to get.

That's what I love about this process, it takes me away from the person residing in me that has to know everything!  So, it's not only doing something fun but good for me, right?

These photos are in no particular order.  The results are difficult to describe because I worked with various dye baths and materials at the same time.  I should probably have taken notes but that would be so contrary to what I wanted to achieve with this process.

I'm blessed to live on the Central Coast of California where we have variety of eucalyptus trees.  So first I worked with those.  Then I worked with copper, apple, maple and citrus, I have 5 citrus trees.  Then I asked the cooks in my rosticceria to save me all of the onions skins and worked with those.  

My dye bath varied from old chains with eucalyptus to copper with citrus leaves.

India also taught us a brilliant garment design where she sews two top garments together.  In these photos I used my abundant stash of old cashmere sweaters.
I love this design, it's simple but lends itself to lots of variation.  

This sweater is from onion skins, Bloodgood maple and some eucalyptus.

This was my first sweater, eucalyptus and Bloodgood maple.

This is the back of the same sweater.

This is my first attempt with copper, citrus leaves and apple leaves.

The back of the same sweater.

And here they are together so that you can see the variation a bit more.  It's subtle.  I'm still learning so much.  I'd like to get a bit brighter with future sweaters.

 My dye bath that awaits me in the garage this morning is a fresh batch of a type of eucalyptus leaf I've never used before and copper pipes.  I'm headed out there right now to see what that does!

Thank you, India.  You're one of the most brilliant, funny and endearing people I've ever met.  Plus you hooked me on my latest addiction!


  1. Those pieces are truly lovely, Gayle! I'd say you got bit by the bug but good. :)

  2. Well, this post is the highlight of my internet week. These are amazingly beautiful. I'm a bright colour person and yet these soft subdued organic colours and shapes really are appealing and I like the way you've pieced the garments together. You got your money's worth from that course!

  3. Gorgeous dye effects! I can feel your addiction.

  4. I love them all !
    I love that you are hooked, too ;>))

  5. Wow. These pieces are fantastic and it really looks like you are getting a good feel for what different materials do in terms of pigmentation. Love the apple leaves.

  6. Smiling happily on the other side of the puddle

  7. Thank you for sharing your lovely creations!! Inspiring me to get with it and forage my fallen eucalyptus leaves in the front yard. And and and.....

  8. I love the eco-prints and the way you have constructed the garments is amazing. Just gorgeous. Thanks for sharing this.

  9. Gayle, these are amazing! I love the way you've put your stash of cashmere together. I've dyed the top I made on Lopez, but then got absorbed in my weaving. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  10. Absolutely wonderful! I love the colors and shapes.

  11. these are wonderful . i have been dyeing bits and pieces since lopez . what a wonderful experience that was for me too.

  12. OMG these are gorgeous! Such lovely subtle colours. I can see why you are addicted,

    Unfortunately (fortunately?) the leaves are off the trees where I am. I will have to content myself with snow dyeing when the white stuff finally comes. Snow/dyeing is similar in a way because you really can't control the results, only the colours.

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  14. Wow, they look great and very wearable!

  15. These are wonderfully inspirational - I live in Oz where eucalyptus reign! Can I ask what do you mean by 'sewing two top garments together'? I have just lugged an old copper into a farm shed to start dyeing!

  16. Uh-oh, down the rabbit hole! Those are beautiful. Desperately want to take a class from her one day...


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