Baulos leads fabric-dyeing workshop in Helena
Published 9:20 am Thursday, June 30, 2016
By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist
Tie-Dye is not just your 1960s rainbow T-shirts anymore, although those still happily prevail.
Dyeing techniques achieved using natural materials such as indigo and eucalyptus leaves were demonstrated by Doug Baulos in late April in a Helena back yard.
Most of those attending this workshop are members of the Shelby County Evening Star Quilt Guild and each much enjoyed trying the techniques presented that day. Baulos also showed the group a silkscreen process and another application on fabric that results in silhouette designs of leaves, lace and other stencils when exposed to sunshine.
Individuality was celebrated, as these processes all create one-of-a-kind end results. Natural cotton fabric swatches were primarily used and some participants also brought along T-shirts, as well.
“When I signed up for this class,” Mary Gibson shared, “it brought back images of tie dyeing as a younger me.”
“However, this class was nothing like that! We learned many new techniques for fabric dyeing. I got so into the process, I literally took ‘the shirt of my back’ and used it for the indigo dyeing process.”
Baulos prepared a large vat of natural indigo, added alum, then showed how the fabrics could be selectively wrapped in string, then dipped in parts. When the indigo-dyed fabric initially comes out of the vat, it is green-hued, but afterwards transforms, via the oxidation process, to indigo blue.
Pelham resident Alvin Harris brought his granddaughter, Madison Davis, along and the two co-created sun prints that incorporated their handprints together on one swatch.
“I was not bothered that not all my experiments turned out as well as I would’ve liked,” Davis shared. “The fact that we had the idea and tried it and I got to spend time with my grandfather is what really mattered to me.”
Shirley Hamilton, Programs Chair with the Evening Star Quilt Guild, noted “my goal this year has been to encourage guild members to try something new…to step outside our comfort zones and try a different style, technique, tool or method.”
This workshop totally fulfilled that with every participant awed with the accomplishments of the day.