Designing for Lotus

This past week groups of three students were asked t bring in some designs and conceptualizations of the Lotus installation. Each group picked one design and move forward on creating and armature, a small scale model of what the design would look like. Students also worked with the samples of dye they had previously completed, so some of the colors will be different in the final product.

This is the first group (and the one I am in). The hanging pieces of fabric would be shades of red, representing the blood that connects everyone around the world. The flower is a lotus blossom, and would have three petals in the center and six more below that would reach various points in the tent.

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The next group created a piece called “Heart Strings.” The various pieces of fabric interlocked and crossed to show how people’s connections and histories come together to form something beautiful.

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The third group used an interesting perspective. They chose to include several layers of fabric, each one cut slightly differently so that altogether they create a lotus flower.

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 The last group went with a caravan theme. They use several bright fabrics and cut shapes out of them.

IMG_0504 Our next step is combining some of these designs and creating a new blend. The next two weeks we will try to complete our project, and then install it in September!

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Hilltop Garden

The textiles department has a good relationship with Hilltop Gardens, where we can grow dye plants and the textiles classes come periodically to care and harvest the various plants in order to create fresh dyes. We went out last week to do some weeding, put down some mulch, and even put up a fence! There is a family of groundhogs that love the dye plants, so hopefully this will stop them! We will be returning in a few weeks in order to keep the plants healthy, and hopefully will get to do some fresh dyeing before the end of the summer!

If you are interested in volunteering or just exploring hilltop, this is their website!

http://www.indiana.edu/~landscap/hilltop/index.shtml

        

The Basic Dyeing Process (Natural Dyes)

Below are some guides for natural dyeing that make it simpler to dye at home. The first step is the mordant, which will help your fabric prepare to hold dye. It’s also important to buy untreated fabric if possible, otherwise you will have to scour the waxy coating that most fabric stores use before you can mordant. After you’re finished with your mordant, you can begin the dyeing! Some things to keep in mind: pay attention to the temperature, make sure you have enough water (you want to submerge your fabric but don’t be wasteful!), and keep stirring! Finally, you need to soak your fabric with synthrapol then rinse and dry. If you follow these steps you should get a nice, even dye.

Tips:

  • Let your fabric breathe! If the same parts are folded together, they will not dye as well.
  • Create samples! This is the best way to experiment and find what works best for you!
  • Stainless Steel pots are ideal, as there won’t be any metals leaking into your dye.
  • It’s always a good idea to wear a mask when working with fine powders like the alum and dye.
  • Have fun! Try different over dyes and don’t be afraid to experiment!

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