Whiter Shades Of Pale

To-Dye Pile 1No, I don’t mean the song, I’m referring to the piles and bags and boxes of things I’m assembling to dye this week. We’ve got plain old white, summer white, navajo white, eggshell, offwhite, ivory, cream, even a bit of ecru. There are turned pieces of wood, bamboo beads, silk and rayon and cotton ribbons, silk chiffon and duponi yardage, silk handkerchiefs, cotton battenburg lace pieces, and cotton lace. There are circles and squares of silk stretched over wire, and there are doll bodies and fibers for hair in rayon, cotton, and wool! There are even a few more T-shirts. And that’s just MY pile; there are others coming to the Annual Dyeing Days. I’ll be taking a few pictures as we go and I’ll be sure to post so you can see the transformations.

To-Dye lot2Much of the yardage, lace ribbons, and stretched pieces were purchased from Dharma Trading Co. and the doll bodies were found at Factory Direct Craft Supplies. I bought  several dozen of the three, five and 8 inch bodies. These color up beautifully with the Procion Fiber Reactive Dyes, and can then be painted, beaded, and otherwise hand embellished. I attach polymer clay faces to some, and some I use paints to create faces. 

Pre-made doll bodies are great as a starting point for those who get tired of sewing and stuffing.

Polymer clay facesOf course, I like to do both–use the pre-mades and also sew, starting with my own pattern and my own dyed cloth. I’m putting together kits with the pattern, fabric, polymer clay face and a starter packet of embellishing items; beads, sequins, etc….click here to see some samples of the icondoll kits and more information about them. My favorite so far is the one shown in the header for this blog; I think I’ll keep her!


About Sarajane

Sarajane Helm is an author and artist who works in polymer clay, ceramics, textile and digital arts including photography and website design.
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2 Responses to Whiter Shades Of Pale

  1. maggie says:

    hi, i am doing a project in art and design about clay and we have to find an artist to write about, i was wondering if you could give me some info on about what you do and why you wanted to work with clay, thanks maggie

    • Sarajane says:

      Hi Maggie! I have always been very creatively oriented, I like to manipulate materials and play with color ant texture. Polymer clay is perfect for this! I had been sewing, dyeing and painting clothing and textiles and owned a wearable and collectible arts store in Columbus Ohio, but I left it to do wholesale and start a family. When I was pregnant with my first child, dyeing was not a good match for my lifestyle, as you cant just walk away from the dye vats for a few hours or days,–but you can do that with polymer clay! Plus it is easier to carry around than boxes of clothing. I still do dyeing now that my kids are grown up, but I also make use of 25 years of built up skills and information in creating wearable art, and I write books about working with polymer clay and more. I also instruct groups around the United States in the use of polymer clay and in making molds, and textile and beading arts. My next book will be out at the end of October, and is titled “A Collection Of Polymer Clay Masks”; I’ve also added working with ceramic clay and metal clays to my line of salable items, and I’m leaning more about them all the time!good luck with your paper, let me know if you have any specific questions. You can see a lot of my work in various media at my main websites–http://polyclay.com, http://polymarketpress.net/blog and http://auntacid.com (Auntie is my polymer clay SpokesModel.)

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