I’m one of those annoying people who is fortunate enough to work for an organisation that I can wholeheartedly endorse. Working at TEAR Australia is a delight and it is refreshing to feel an immense sense of gratitude when I reflect on my vocation.
Recently, I had the opportunity to channel my event stylist and assist some of my colleagues with designing a space we were curating at Surrender Conference. After bouncing around a few ideas we decided that an ombré backdrop was best suited to the style and I happily put my hand up to take care of this aspect. I knew it would involve dying fabric, a process which fascinates me…I love seeing colour creep and seep into fabric.
We already had a large piece of calico on hand at work (2.4m square approx.), so I procured some green dye and found this handy tutorial to assist my creative pursuit. I already had the other bits and bobs around the house that I needed (namely a large plastic tub and salt to set the dye) and positioned the dye bath outside.
It was a pretty straight forward process and the tutorial gave me a great basis to work from. I was surprised at how easy it was to control the intensity of the colour and create an impacting gradient. Dunking the fabric in and out of the dye bath was therapeutic and it was mesmerising noticing the subtle changes to the intensity of the colour with each movement.
Originally, I had intended to have bare calico on the top quarter or so of the fabric, but at the last moment decided to quickly immerse the entire piece in the bath. I’m glad I decided to do so, as I felt that the progression of the gradient was quite jarring without the green continuing for the entire length (pre full dunk image to the right).
Another unplanned detail I quite liked in the end result were the small wrinkles where the intensity of the colour varied, adding texture. I had pre-washed the fabric and hadn’t ironed it before I dyed it, so my assumption is this is how the piece acquired the delicate fine lines. Once I had hung up the fabric, I realised that I had neglected to account for a length of calico to cut into strips to make ties to hang the background up at the event. Thankfully, I had an adequate piece of calico at home, so I dunked this in the dye bath briefly to make it the correct hue.
A few days later, I hemmed the fabric and made the ties attaching them at regular intervals. Looking back, I probably should have dyed the fabric after sewing it together. This would have meant that the cotton I used to stitch with would have also dyed, matching the fabric. That being said, this is a tiny detail that only I would notice, as most people aren’t 1. as pedantic as I am and 2. wouldn’t be getting very close to the finished product!
Overall, I’m very happy with the end result and I enjoyed the process, apart from dying my hands green because I neglected to wear gloves! The backdrop looked fantastic in situ (see below) and I hope it attracted the eyes of event goers and intrigued them to learn more about the brilliant organisation I work for!