Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fabric Dyeing in China

On the next to the last day of our trip in China, we visited Wuzhen, about 75 miles from Hangzhou. This scenic town is another of the "water towns" in China. But my real interest in this town was that it had an exhibit of indigo-blue fabric dyeing. Actually, the whole town is kind of like our Jamestown, where there are many of the "old" crafts exhibited like basket making and making combs from horn, and more. But, as a quilter, I find the old crafts related to fabric very interesting and will always go out of my way to see these. This trip was worth it.

The picture above is how they finally dry the dyed fabric and it's lovely to see these long swaths of cloth blowing in the breeze (about 40 degree breeze the day we were there). The process goes like this:

1. Prepare a pattern. These used to be done by hand, but are now done by machine. They look like this. The crafts person puts a paste on the design.
The crafts person puts a paste on the design and when they lift the pattern off, it looks like this:
Then the pattern is pressed against the fabric and dyed in vats like these:

And, finally, the fabric is dried in the wind as in the picture at the beginning. Unfortunately, the "old" process has been replaced by machines, but it was good to see the old way. Modern quilters are still using the old way too. Here's a blog all about fabric dyeing: http://wordpress.com/tag/fabric-dyeing/

1 comment:

DragonQuilter said...

Is this something you can now try?? Looks like it was certainly fun to see!!