I know, I know, I said I would never go down the fabric dyeing road but some friends dragged me along on their adventures last summer and I was quickly hooked. I loved the results of low water immersion dyeing so when I heard that Ann Johnston was coming to Colorado to speak at Front Range Contemporary Quilters and offer a workshop I jumped in with both feet. Who better to learn from than the Mistress of Dyeing?
I had no idea there were so many shades and variations of black until I spent 3 1/2 days with Ann Johnston last week. From dove grey to deepest blue black we brushed, smeared, thickened and stained dyes on different fabrics until we started to be able to pick out which ones were slightly greenish from those that were slightly purplish. Working exclusively with black dyes, we focused on line, texture, pattern, value and shape as well as rhythm and repetition. It was awesome to spend so much time focused on art and the confusing science of dyeing with no interruptions...just one of the many reasons I love workshops and retreats. Ann is a great teacher and shared every shred of knowledge she had stuffed in her brain...or at least as much as we could drink in.
The other amazing thing about attending workshops and retreats is getting that glimpse into other artists' brains and thought processes. We had 19 people in our class and the energy was amazing and it was boggling to see so many variations come out of the exact same assignment.
Ann is a closet scientist and tests, tries and explores every variation of dye process that you can imagine so that we can learn from her adventures and not spend so much time experimenting. I highly recommend her classes. Ann did give us some demos of how she paints her beautifully colored art fabrics on the last day...we were so excited to see color after all that black and white. Here are a couple of my favorite pieces that I made.