Nancy Finn is the owner of Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks, and if you have a well-stocked LYS (local yarn shop) near you, you have probably seen her work. She runs a studio where she and four employees handpaint complex fibers full of subtle tones and gradations. Her teaching method is thorough and very complete...I learned so much!
She started us out with dozens of small strips of silk ribbon. Silk doesn't necessarily need a heat source for color to set, so these were going to make up our color wheel notebook by the end of class. We then got right to playing with color, mixing drop by drop to create new tones, using only red, blue, yellow, and black as bases. Among the concepts I learned were how to alter shades via the use of a special mix of colors called toner, and how to actually use black. Black changes everything. I have always been afraid of black, thinking it would muddy my colors and make them horrible and ugly. Not so. Colors seem to gain force and depth with the use of even a few drops of black...they become infinitely more interesting.
Nancy uses a special method of handpainting...one I've never seen mentioned before. Most people who casually dye know about the plastic-wrap method of handpainting. Nancy said she can't stand the thought of how much plastic she'd be using if she went this way. Instead, she uses restaurant steamer trays to do her dyeing. She dyes 2 oz. at a time, because that's all that she says fits well in a tray.
Nancy pours well-mixed dyes directly onto the fiber:
Next, she presses the dye throughout the fiber to make certain it's saturated:
She also likes to add a little zing of color that doesn't necessarily "go" at the end:
We all took a turn, handpainting silk top, merino/silk top, and fiber from home:
And here is the Drying Rack of Loveliness:
All in all, such an informative class!!