Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Magic Paint

Souk Sebbaghine - the Dyers Souk
Cotton, wool and silk yarn

A look in vats, the finished woven products,
mainly scarves - the silk is 'vegetarian' produced
from the cactus plant. Very light and airy cloth,
with a strange 'hand' akin to polyester.

Then the sales talk, Magic paints are used to dye
cloth, they are fast not fugitive like chemical dyes.
Sample scarf dampened, and, sure enough, the
water is coloured. Perhaps not rinsed enough?

This led me to thinking of experiences with 'magic
paint' in India. Powder is placed on paper - you
you have to guess the resulting colour when water
is applied. Result amazingly different and magic.

Sometimes the brain is the last thing out of the bag.
Plus there is always a fair bit of showmanship.
How could fabric be dyed with magic paint?

Last year I bought this simply lovely tray of mineral
pigment as used in Indian Miniature painting.

Magic paint - can you see what colour it will be?
The top left is a green metallic powder, top right dark green,
and the bottom very dark blue.

Indigo chunks and terracotta dish with cochineal - Burber lipstick

Ah, a chink of light - we are definitely dealing with mineral
pigments not only for painting, but also dyeing.

No time for in depth investigations right now, will have to
save that for a rainy day. So far, I believe the pigments are
mix with egg tempera, 'glues' and even acrylic paints, for
painting various surfaces. For painting fabric, use alum as
a mordant. Then there is the soy milk option described
by John Marshall - an excellent website for all things

The blue vases in Jardin Marjorelle were a bit of a clue.
My Indigo chunks are, of course, cobolt blue pigment.


Eva said...

Guess these beauties have to be handled with care, due to their metallic nature... This wouldn't keep me from exploiting their glow.

Tiggy Rawling said...

I think you are right Eva. I shall approach with extreme caution!

Clare Wassermann said...

lovely pictures x

Rayna said...

How gorgeous are these pigments! Put your dust mask and gloves on and have fun with the magic, Tiggy.