Sunday, January 16, 2011

Things I Have Learned as a Dyer

There are things I have learned over the years as a fiber artist. I never much cared for that term, I call myself a dyer first, but people tend to get confused by that one. The things I have learned are many, and they tend to be more universal than fabric specific. I find that doing this has taught me a lot about not only dye, but life.

1. I love color.—Duh, right? It's true though, my love of color is why I do what I do. And, I've learned that doing what you love is worth a lot more than any income you can earn. If you aren't doing what you love, get out now, change your path and find a new one.

2. Colors act differently depending on the fabric. One colorway can look remarkably different on velour than it does on interlock, terry or french terry. This has actually taught me a lot about my kids. Same family, same parents, but the kids all react differently to our parenting. We've had to learn that they each need something different from us, because they are themselves unique. And it's important to not only let them be unique, but to celebrate it.

3. Dye has a mind of its own. I get the best results when I let go of my expectations and allow the dye do it's thing. It does indeed have a mind of it's own. I get a daily reminder of the lack of control I have in life through my work and it's given me the ability to be more free with my kids, to let go of my preconceived notions and just let life happen. When you do this, you get to be a part of true magic.

4. Colors in the dye bath are often not what they appear. Some colorways that are hideous in the dye bath are the most stunning when all is said and done. Mandarin is one such colorway. It's one of the ugliest things I've ever seen while dyeing, heck, pictures don't even do it justice, but the end result is simply stunning in person, especially on terry. So, don't judge a book by its cover, you just might be pleasantly surprised by what's inside. This is probably the most important lesson of all.

5. Heat helps. Not sure how this applies to life in general, but a little heat goes a long way when pasting up and mixing even colors. Just sayin'.

No comments: