Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Vibrant Color" Soy Wax Techniques

I'm really excited about some new ways to use soy wax. Jane Dunnewold and I have been experimenting with several techniques that involve mixing fiber reactive dyes with soy wax. For the past year and a half, Jane has worked on a recipe to create dye crayons. I initially got involved last summer by helping her test the crayons.

Jane has perfected the recipe and is marketing a soy wax blend so artists can make their own dye crayons. The soy wax crayons are perfect for drawing, writing and creating rubbings from a variety of textured items. The dye in the wax forms a permanent bond with the fabric and the excess dye easily washes out in the washing machine.

We also experimented with adding fiber reactive dyes to hot wax. I am particularly intrigued with the dye/hot wax mix. The color in the wax penetrates the fabric and the wax acts as a resist for overpainting with dye. It results in vibrant color and creates a look that is not possible with any other technique.

We have also formulated a recipe for a soy wax paste that is perfect for stenciling. It gives a softer look and allows greater control than applying thickened dye through a stencil. Refining these techniques took a lot of experimentation. Just mixing the powdered dyes with the wax gave unsatisfactory results. Now, after perfecting the techniques, we have collaborated on a DVD and workshop to introduce the process. Our first workshop was last weekend in San Antonio. Below are some photos.

The next workshop will be in San Antonio in October and the DVD is scheduled for release in July. Stay tuned for more photos as we continue to refine these techniques.

Update 6/1/11 - We now have both a book and a DVD available on the techniques. See my website for more information.

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