Artist & Writer

Nicole Pakan



    Tales from the Hive: V1-2: Dye

    Dye has been used in textiles from as far back as 2600 BC. My newly discovered and now favorite dye Indigo has a long and illustrious history. Prior to the rise of overseas trading, it was considered a rare luxury pigment in some parts of the world. Since the middle ages, it has been used widely in Asia, Europe and Africa. Perhaps Indigo’s biggest claim to fame is a good old pair of blue jeans, although now those snazzy denims are coloured with synthetics instead.  

    One of the things I enjoyed most at my encaustic retreat this year is my experimentation with dyes. I was surprized to learn that a healthy vat of indigo is alive with fermentation — the dark bubbly yeast blooms are what give us the rich blue we so enjoy. We must be careful to not deplete the vat, but with a little manipulation, the blooms can create some extremely interesting patterns on a substrate.

    I don't have much in the way of finished pieces to share, but I have number of paths to explore and am excited to see just where this interesting element can take me.



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