Dyeing like my grandmother

My Nana Kit lived to be 102. In her last months of life she took to giving advice to all who she considered part of her family. My cousins received pearls of wisdom on managing a work/life balance; my sons were told how hard life can be, and sometimes just persevering is what is needed.

I was told the formula for knitting a skirt and how to double warp a loom.

My relationship with Nana was a close one, based largely on a shared love of textile art and the domestic sciences as she used to describe the more practical sewing end of the spectrum. She was heavily involved in the Spinners and Weavers guild in her home state, and as an adult learner went to university to complete a Visual Art degree (her sculptures were quite something, I do wonder what became of them). Like so many things, we have strange memories of our grandparents. For me it was one of dyeing, particularly using natural things – carrots, onions and the like.

On the Saturday of the Easter weekend, in between making hot cross buns and eating chocolate, a dear friend and I spent a few hours cross-legged on her back lawn… “I totally feel like a witch right now, with all these pots and potions”… seemed to be the vibe.

But I felt like it was kind of home. Dyeing with my grandmother.

Procion dyes, gloves, water, cups, jars and a spirit of adventure.

The results were quite something, and some of them ended up back in the dye pot to be over-dyed (lime green isn’t my thing), I haven’t done anything with them (yet), but they are part of an evolution of process for me. I seem to be moving away from prints and having a solids phase (well for things which are more functional an everyday…).

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