Radiant Red

Here is the recap of our final workshop. We used cochineal dye and a thiox (thioreau dioxide) leeching process. It really is an interesting way of embellishing fabric.

Cochineal is such an elusive dye to us here at Wax & Wane Fiber. Try and try as we might, we can't seem to crack the secret to finding that perfect crimson. We have found that our dye baths produce a purpled-red that just can't be shaken. Adding citric acid only throws the color to a light orange. There were hints somewhere on the internet that said a bit of cream of tartar pushes the color to a Christmas red. Sadly, with our last attempt, this did not produce what we wanted. If anyone knows the recipe, let us know!

The prickly pear cactus that actually resides at the Conservatory. Scales do grow on this specific plant, sadly they are not cochineal though!

After giving a brief insight into the history of cochineal, we dug right into what we call reverse shibori. Instead of resisting the fabric from dye, this process resists dyed fabric from bleach. We have to really perfect the timing of this process, because thiox sure is strong! The products of our workshop were a bit blown out, but it was sure fun to try out.

Dried cochineal, ready to be made into some beautiful magenta dye.

We practiced one our favorite resist techniques: shibori!

As per usual, our participants got to practice on their own smaller squares to take home. We had rubber band, clamps, wooden blocks, and dental floss for arashi. Then we moved onto using an iron and paintable thiox for our communal tapestries. The small squares were a tighter woven muslin fabric, while we tested out our newest rayon/silk sheer for the tapestries. Each of these reacted differently to the cochineal and also to the thiox.

Our tried and true rubber bands. Ghosts of indigo still clinging.

Painting with this. Ripping out the color with a hot iron is always interesting.

We tried throwing the tapestries into a secondary bath post workshop to try and get that rich red we were seeking, but, like we said earlier, we haven't quite found that perfect recipe. They definitely grew more red, but not that red red. The tapestries still turned out wonderfully, but we are going to be on this journey with cochineal for a bit.

With love & light & beauty,
Ashton & Claire

Posted on the Last Quarter Moon