Two orders of business today: giving away that copy of the Resurrection Engines anthology,
and the first in a series of reviews of books on the subject of dyeing: Dyeing and Screenprinting on Textiles, by Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor
I used the Random Number Generator
to select the winner (assigning all the comments here a number by the order of receipt, then appending all the comments on Facebook
in the same fashion), and it chose
Congrats, Lee! Hope you enjoy the book! I'll contact you privately for mailing instructions.
Now, recall my post a few weeks back
about the out-of-print status of my old dye-class standby text, Deborah Dryden's Fabric Painting and Dyeing for the Theatre
In the weeks that followed, two heartening things happened. First, a staff member at Heinemann Drama responded to my email, saying they were looking into the possibility of releasing the Dryden text as an e-book. Then a short time later, I received an email from Dryden herself--someone had forwarded her my post. She expressed dismay at the high prices used copies of her text were listing at on services like Alibris.com, and said Heinemann had returned to her all rights to her work. She mentioned the possibility of releasing it herself with a POD/ebook company, and potentially in an updated new edition.
Which, all this is wonderful news for the long-term, and perhaps the book will once again be available the next time i teach my dye class (which will be Spring 2015), but I'm moving forward as if that won't be the case. What text or texts might I use to replace the Dryden book?
See, yes, the Dryden text is twenty years old and sure, it could stand to be updated. However, the main reason that I have stuck with it as my text is that it is fairly comprehensive and frames dyeing and surface design within a theatrical context so very well.
In terms of dye recipes and products/auxilliaries/etc., we talk in my class about doing your own legwork, how any book's "recipes" are only starting places unless they are formulations you yourself record with the intent to replicate later (such as in long-running shows where you know you will need to dye new fabric for new cast members over the course of the run, or even in short runs if for any reason a process needs repeating). We talk about classes of dyestuffs and where the starter recipes can be found for various types--for example, companies like PRO Chemical
and Aljo Dye
make all their dye recipes available on the web. We talk about the math of scaling your recipes in ratios, and the chemistry of why different types of dye need different types of auxiliaries. None of this figured into why I used the Dryden text.
I used the Dryden text because she includes information about things to consider when setting up or overhauling a theatrical costume shop's dye facility, because she talks about distressing and aging of garments, because she places surface design within the context of a functioning costume shop and as a part of the process of realizing a costume designer's vision. Even at twenty years old, the level of safety information in Dryden's book is vastly superior to most other dye books out there. The fact that she addresses the use of basic and disperse dye classes is great, and she includes information about stuff like mixing your own French Enamel Varnish (FEV), stuff my students need, i feel, all collected in one place.
But, until/unless it's rereleased, I need to decide what will replace it as my text(s) next time around, so i'm auditioning books. I solicited opinions from other professional and theatrical dyers and professors of similar classes as mine on the USITT costumers email group, and I pulled some potential titles from the recommendations of my colleagues. I also took a gander at Dr. Paula Burch's book reviews
--Burch is a scientist with a particular interest in dyestuffs and maintains one of the most useful clearinghouse reference sites on the web for dye information.
Today, i'm reviewing the first of four contenders: Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor
's Dyeing and Screenprinting on Textiles
. This book was recommended to me by a scientist friend in the dyeing field, whom i know from my time spent taking dyeing and finishing classes over at the NCSU College of Textiles
Kinnersly-Taylor is a textile artist based in Glasgow, Scotland, which unfortunately makes her book potentially confusing as a primary class text, since all the measures are metric and most of the brands of dyes and auxiliaries are UK specific. There are conversion charts, sure, but when students are learning an unfamiliar and complex subject and some may have no experience beyond Rit in a washing machine, i don't want to ask them to work from a book where I have to keep reframing things for them ("It says Metapex but that means Synthrapol for the US.")
However, this book is fantastic
and I plan to get it for my personal library regardless. It's got excellent information about safe work practices and some great images of and info about industrial dye equipment one might consider if setting up a high-volume standalone dye studio catering to the entertainment industry such as A Dyeing Art
: steamers, heat presses, winch dyers/beck dyers, and more. She also coveres all the classes of dyes the Dryden text does. This is an issue i have with many art-oriented dye books; they often only address fiber reactives and/or acid dyes in any depth.
In addition to screenprinting, Kinnersly-Taylor covers many more surface design techniques like resists, transfer printing, and digital printing, and offers good explanations of topics like flocking, foiling, and discharge printing. She's got a helpful section on the different types of print repeats and how to manipulate your art to achieve them. She lays out the processes and the science in an accessible but not dumbed-down way, and doesn't pad the text with "Make Your Own Shibori Scarf!"-style projects as some otherwise useful arts-n-crafts dye books do.
The appendices in it are great as well--glossary, a list of auxiliaries and their uses, a worldwide list of suppliers divided by country/region, and a decent index though not comprehensive (that's another beef i have with many art-dye books: no index).
The section that i find most dear to my heart, though is the step-by-step instructions for making what Kinnersly-Taylor calls a Dustbin Steamer--essentially, how to make your own pipe steamer
from a trash can and a coffee samovar! Bricolage at its finest. Given that a new pipe steamer runs around $1100
, I love that she's written up a means for making one from stuff you can get at a thrift store--even the most budget-strapped dyer could make one of these. (Of course, Dharma Trading has instructions online for making one from galvanized stove pipe
as well, so this alone is not why folks should check out the book.)
So, in terms of a new primary text for my class, this isn't it, but a secondary text we'll look at and a new addition to my library, most definitely!
And lastly, i must congratulate and brag on a trio of my grad students who attended the Southeastern Theatre Conference
this past weekend.
Second year Kelly Renko
and first year Colleen Dobson were both finalists for the prestigious Marian A. Smith Scholarship
for the pursuit of graduate study in the field of costuming--they only choose three finalists out of all their applicants so that in and of itself is a great achievement. And at the banquet it was announce that Colleen was awarded the scholarship!
In addition, second year Leah Pelz
won first prize in the Costume Craft Competition for her exhibition of five examples of her millinery work, all of which you've seen in the back posts of this blog.
Congratulations to all three for these wonderful distinctions! I couldn't be more proud.