Monday, April 20, 2009

Syrian Dye Workshop

Last week I visited my local TheNewDowse gallery here in Lower Hutt. I hadn't been for awhile what with being away etc. I wasn't even sure whether exhibitions had changed since I last visited and didn't find out before I went, prefering to discover with an open mind. There had been changes, and one exhibition was about graffiti and skateboard art. Neither of these two would have enthused me beforehand, but I was enthralled and toured that gallery twice. I left feeling very excited about all the creativity I had experienced. Great stuff! No you won't see me applying graffiti or skating down the footpath.... or will you....?

My Three Brother Tomb piece is progressing. Now that the background areas have been dyed I am focusing on the details, starting with the Enternal Life symbol, Ankh. The central area which has been giving me some grief has now also resolved itself. More details next week.

This is the start of the symbol for Eternal Life, Ankh. I have masked it off with freezer paper

The background colours have been removed with discharge paste

And here it is, finished after several processes to get it right

In Damascus, Syria, we visited a dye workshop accessible by a narrow, crowded alleyway. They dyed yarns and everything looked like it needed some TLC but hey, it is Syria, and it all works for them. I hope you are enjoying these snippets from my travels.

Yarn skeins being lifted from the dye bath. This batch obviously variegated.

Overhead view of the dye area. It all looks as if it could do with a jolly good clean up!

Another view from the top. Note man removing washed skeins from the machine. I presume that the skeins must be secured in the machine otherwise they would come out all tangled.

Dyed skeins drying in the sun

Next Blog: The Tassel Makers


  1. Makes me green with envy - what an amazing trip! What did the dyes smell like Diana? Was there a distinctive smell?

    Thanks for the update on your piece too - it's looking interesting.


  2. I am loving the blog Diana - I have just dipped into it after my trip to India. However - the dye workshop is in Cairo, not far from the Tentmakers' Street.

    I will not be offended if you wipe this comment and apply artistic licence on location!