Tuesday, November 12, 2013

You are never too old to learn Chemistry

You are never too old to learn Chemistry
I've discovered that it is actually possible to enjoy that dreaded school subject if you have a passionate and interesting teacher.  Irit Dulman is one of those. She perches on her stool surrounded by eager students ready to learn and experiment and play through her Natural Dyeing Workshop. To put it simply we are learning to dye silk and wool with plants.
With pots of bubbling water and vats of prepared Indigo dye, assorted scales for measuring, spoons, and spatulas and containers of interesting powders and thermometers we watch and assist in deep concentration.
Bye bye Harry Potter. Hello Irit Dulman. To add to the magic she even has a wand to be used to call attention to her budding wizards:-)
We learnt that Indigo leaves create remarkable blues through chemistry . Think of your favourite pair of denim jeans .:-)
We noted that Madder is a root for dyeing red and Weld is a whole plant for yellow dye.
For fabric to absorb strong and permanent colours from the plants, it needs the addition of a mordant. This is a substance to prepare the fabric beforehand. It is a technical and precise encounter with science , as different fabrics require different mordents . The results are fascinating as we compared the brilliant colour samples of  mordanted dyed fabrics with the insipid shades that were unmordanted .
I filled pages with notes, met some wonderful people, and spent two days marvelling at the splendour of natural dyeing.

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