Some interesting experimentation results:

– The oak tannin solution makes a very nice background color, but doesn’t seem to affect how much color stays from the mud.

– Soda ash does make the iron-rich muds bleed more – more of a  ‘halo’ of color appearing around them.

– Soda ash on tannin doesn’t seem to  do anything more than just soda ash.

-Using a clear extender gel (made for fabric dyeing) in the mud changes the mud into fabric paint – which isn’t too bad if the mud is clean and if you do a good job of heat setting the final fabric. The color of the dirt does NOT go through the fabric; just stays on top.

– The most successful aspect of this whole round of experiments is the use of a bit of soda ash in the mud mixture: it seems to keep a lot more color on the cloth after a rinse than when using soy milk – and no time was needed.

Which is really a bit odd. To my dyeing knowledge (which admittedly is pretty sparse) soda ash just changes the pH of the water, making alkaline water more neutral. And cotton is supposed to like alkaline water – which we have in abundance as proven by the amount of chemicals needed to bring down the alkalinity level in the hot tub. So why is the soda ash providing a boost to the mud?

I’ll have to give my chemist brother a chance to show off what he knows.

One Reply to “Experiments”

  1. Judy, this is very interesting. It also means that for a workshop, I don’t have to buy soymilk and worry about longevity of the soy. Soda ash sets fiber reactive dyes. Some of the colorants may be from the same chemical families. At least for browns and ochres. Did you steam the cloth in the microwave?

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