Gradations and Thai

By the time I got back to my room last night it was too late to make an entry. It has been a real whirlwind day and evening schedule. Thursday we all converged at Earthues by 9:45AM to finish Wednesday’s project with our raw dyestuffs. We had dyed silk hankies, scarves and ayate and they needed to be rinsed, dried and pots cleaned, notes made for each dyepot; the ups and perhaps downs of what had taken place. We then presented the colored items to the table for review and discussion and then each of us took away our pieces, some of which will be over-dyed in indigo today. After lunch each of us paired up to work on gradation dyeing with both wool and silk yarn. This time we dyed with the natural extracts, rather than the raw matter, so the process took much less time. The extracts are just as pure and natural as the raw matter, the difference being all the preparation has been done by the grower, rather than the dyer. Therefore the dyer has the luxury of working with the same dyestuffs while at the same time eliminating a sometimes 24 hour process of first grinding, soaking blending, straining and extracting the matter prior to adding it to the dyepot. With the exception of the wood dye extracts, Earthues extracts are prepared into extracts by the growers in the villages and regions where the raw matter is grown. Michele has direct relationships with these farmers and pays close attention to insure nothing is added to the extracts.
After our dyepots were finished we all walked down Ballard to a wonderful Thai resturant, 12 of us took to the bar for happy hour where we drank exotic gin drinks and a feast of appetizers from Satay to something I can’t pronounce but loved! This resturant also has a historical site within it. In the basement is an opium den, which of course is no longer used. All we could see was the stairway descending to the den which has a great big iron gate on it, stairs that were very worn, a wall of candle wax that had dripped from candles for years and then a dark turn out of sight. Some who have had the opportunity to tour the den say it was very dark with little cubbies and long benches. The Ballard district is steeped in history, it’s in the streets of brick and the buildings, a most fitting place to teach and foster the ancient ways and workings of natural dyes; Earthues.

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