Thursday, June 28, 2012

Studio space

Here are some photos of my soon to be organized new studio space, I can't even figure out how I had all this stuff crammed into my 2 rooms at home. I feel like it was the clown car where people keep getting out of it! I am looking forward to getting a workshop line-up going in the fall because I can now have 10 or so students at a time. And it ahs been fun to be in a space with other artists again. Lots of ideas are generating!

Friday, June 1, 2012


I've been incorporating vat dye discharge into much of my fiber work.  It is a serendipitous way to create new markings and color with rich warm hues on previously dyed fabric by using bound resist techniques such as Shibori.  In addition, an amazing and magical phenomenon happens around the resisted area called "halo effect".

Besides vat dyes, 2 chemicals: sodium hydroxide (lye) and thiourea dioxide or sodium hydrosulfite must be added to the dye bath to accomplish the discharge and color replacement.  After dyeing, the fabric must be exposed to the air to oxidize.  It's all worth it since the results can be breath-taking and fill your soul!  Imagine removing color and adding entirely new color in selected areas simultaneously!!!

This Spring I put together a new collection of scarves with shibori using vat dye discharge in "to-dye-for" colors in luscious jade, apple, turquoise, orange and shocking pink. I used rubber bands, folded and clamped wooden blocks and braiding for resist.  Some examples of my creative process follow. The first 2 images portray the "braided" method on silk charmeuse.

 This scarf was first ground dyed with shades of raspberry and bronze and then vat dye discharged with turquoise - eye candy!
This multi-colored "cold-water" immersion dyed silk scarf was vat dye discharged with jade.
What lovely patterns, color and texture can be achieved using these methods!

Next, I vat dye discharged with apple green using the "fold and clamp wooden block method following a multi-colored dye process with cold water immersion dye!

 This charmeuse scarf was first dyed pale pink, band resisted and vat dye discharged in shocking pink and lastly fold-clamp method with jade.  Notice the "halo effect" around the light pink circles - it's amazing!

This last example was dyed pale blue on silk crepe, banded and vat dye discharged with apple green, then "braided" and vat dye discharged in orange...

I buy vat dye products from both Pro Chemical and Dye in Somerset, MA (1-800-2-BUY-DYE)( )  and Aljo Mfg. Co. in New York, NY ( 212 966 4046).

Are you ready to try Vat Dye Discharge??? Just imagine the limitless possibilities!!! 

Any questions, you can contact me - Mary-Ellen Latino ( or the manufacturers...

Reach for the moon and catch many amazing stars along the journey!