Monday, August 3, 2009

Morocco - day four

On the fourth day, with the fun work of dyeing complete the real work begins. Students separate the hanks out into bundles of threads so that each student will complete the course with a full range of colours on wool. These must each be labeled with the dyes used. Some of the labels are in French, some in Arabic, and some in the Berber dialects. The students receive their books (if books are handed out on the first day students tend to leave with the book and not complete the course). The bundles of threads are made by everyone and piled onto a table. Each student receives a workshop book and a bundle of yarns clearly sorted and labeled.

By this time, with the range of naturally-dyed colours sitting in front of them, the craftspeople are feeling confident. They have created these colours themselves and they now have a very good sense of what can be done with natural dyes. There is much vagueness around dyeing and misinformation abounds. For example, the local market sells a blue powder called "indigo." When we tested it we found that it is what would be called "blueing" a common laundry additive that is used to remove the yellow or cream cast of white fabrics. When you hold it in your hands it is very similar to the dye indigo. But if you try to dye with it all the blue colour will wash out. The misinformation is the result of lost knowledge - it is not malicious. The person selling the blueing as indigo does is not aware of the difference.

The students compile notes into the workbooks. They have completed four full days of natural dye work and they are excited to see what will happen on the last day.


























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