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 Post subject: DIDA KERCHIEF
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:53 am 
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 11:52 am
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Location: france
Bonjour à tous

A little geographic change, we are going to Africa.

Here are pictures of three DIDA kerchiefs from Ivory Coast in Africa. Those textiles are made of raphia threads and are woven without loom. After weaving the raphia cloth is dyed in several bathes using a "plangi" technic. The motifs are reserved with sewn ligatures. This technic gives a special texture to the textile. One of the three kerchiefs apears to be planer than the two others because it has been ironed in order to been framed.
This one is from my collection, the two others are from a commercial US gallery (pictures from the gallery site http://www.hamillgallery.com/). Those two DIDA textile display the common traditionnal colour palette of this kind of production. Mine shows a more purple
unusual colour.

The question is to know if this colour difference can be attributed to a special DIDA group or if this variation is usual ?

Amicalement

Louis


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:02 am 
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Although African textiles are not my speciality, I did have the pleasure to view and handle several of these textiles a few years back. As far as I can remember, none of them had the unusual coloration your purple one shows. Yours is also unusual in that employs only two colors, whereas all the ones I have seen have three. It is almost as if the maker of this textile made a mistake in the dyeing process.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:41 pm 
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Thank you, Jon, for attracting my attention to the fact that these Dida textiles are usually dyed with three colours. I have to admit that, although I admired the artistic effect of them, I had not looked closely enough to realise this and the black dye recedes so that it almost disappears into shadow and the whole affect is very three dimensional.

I don't have much literature on African textiles but I had a look in John Gillow's 'Printed and Dyed Textiles from Africa' in the Fabric Folio series for the British Museum (see pages 13, 32-33) and also his much larger book 'African Textiles' published by Thames & Hudson. Some stunning photos in the latter (pages 66, 67) and a fascinating discussion of the actual 'weaving' or 'tubular oblique interlacing' technique used to create a fabric from the raphia. John's description of the dyeing process is almost identical in both volumes.
Quote:
"patterns by means of tied resists and dyeing them with natural dyes in a colour palette of forest colours. Red and black on a yellowish ground is preferred."....."Adams and Holdcraft (1992) state that the yellow dye is obtained from the roots of a shrub and the red from the hardened root of a tree, while the black is said to come from a combination of manganese and leaves. As with all tie-dyed work, the garments are dyed from the lightest colour to the darkest - in this case, first yellow, then red, then black. Where the black shades into red, a reddish brown colour results, but remains pure black on the fringes of the garment."


Yours, Louis, could be an experimentation perhaps even with a chemical dye perhaps even Gentian violet? Referring to Deryn O'Connor's book 'Miao Costumes' she talks on page 49 about Gentian violet in connection with Huangping textiles:
Quote:
"...one of the many Rosaniline purple dyes, the so-called triphenyl methane dyes, invented in the latter part of the 19th century and prepared from aniline. This group contains dyes which were marketed under such names as Hofmann's violet, Crystal violet, Methyl violet, Spiller's purple etc. ....... Crystal violet, Methal violet and Methyl rosaniline were used to make Gentian violet, an antiseptic and bacteriocidal agent, often painted on the skin in the recent past in the west".
In the case of Guizhou Deryn speculates that perhaps Gentian violet was introduced by the English missionaries of the China Inland Mission who established a base near Huangping in 1895. I wonder if this might also been the case - an introduction via missionary activity - on the Ivory Coast in Africa where the Dida live.

I am probably making 2 and 2 add up to well over 5!

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:59 pm 
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Pamela,

Thank you so much for illuminating for us the dyeing process of these wonderful textiles!

If I understand the process correctly, and after reading the description of the dyeing process and the composition of the dyes, I feel that my first impression of a mistake in the dyeing process is strengthened.

It definitely looks as if Louis piece has been through the yellow process, then tied off, as can be seen by the fully formed motifs. It next should have gone through the red process, and tied off again before going though the black process. Instead, I think the maker made a mistake and put it through the black process, completely bypassing the red process, hence only the two colors.

But where did the purple come from? If I recall correctly, manganese has a dark purple component to it. In which case, it would have been lightened when dyed over the yellow.

I think this theory explains both the unique color and the unusual use of only two colors on this intriguing textile. If I've missed something, or gotten the process completely wrong, or have confused my color theory, (all of which are very possible), do please let me know, as I am still very new to all of this.


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 Post subject: dying process
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 2:08 pm 
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Location: france
Bonjour

About the tie-dyed process quoted by Pamela, I think the three colours process can be described in two ways.
First way : dark to yellow

first : all the motifs are tied on the undyed cloth
second : first dying bath for the darkest color (ground and lines into the tied motifs)
third : the motifs chosen for being red are untied
fourth : secon dying bath for the red
fifth : the motifs chosen to be yellow are untied
six : third dying bath for the yellow and drying.

After this process the dark ground of the field and the dark lines into the motifs are dyed in three bathes (dark brown, red and yellow), the orange red motifs are dyed in two bathes (red and yellow) and the yellow ones only in one bath.

On the other hand the process can be made in the opposite direction (from light to dark) but with more complications

first : dying the whole untied cloth in yellow and drying
second : the yellow motifs are tied (the tied parts remain yellow)
third : the cloth is dyed in red (red + yellow = orange red), drying
fourth : the orange red motifs are tied (they'll remain orange red)
fifth : the cloth is dyed in dark brown that colours the untied ground and the little lines remaining in the tied motifs.
six : all the motifs are untied and the cloth is dryed.

The first described process allows the dyer to make the entier composition of the motifs in one single operation of sewing. It seems easier because at that time of the process the cloth is plane and dry. It is less time consuming than the second process in which the dyer has to wait the cloth drying between two bathes and has to sew the second colour motifs on a unplane surface.


In my cloth there are three types of motifs : large yellow with little purple lines, narrow yellow with larger purple lines, completely purple (like the ground) without yellow lines but with visible traces of sewing.
In this case the process can be explained like this :
first : sewing all the motifs
second : dying the first bath (purple), the ground will take three layers of purple
third: the darker motifs are untied
fourth : second purple bath, the darker motifs will take two layers of purple
fifth : the second motifs are untied
six : third purple bath, the lighter motifs will take one layer of purple
seven : the third motifs are untied
eight : yellow bath

I am open to any other solution.

To be continued

Louis


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:38 pm 
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Louis

I refer you to my quote above from John Gillow's 'African Textiles' where he states:
Quote:
"As with all tie-dyed work, the garments are dyed from the lightest colour to the darkest - in this case, first yellow, then red, then black. Where the black shades into red, a reddish brown colour results, but remains pure black on the fringes of the garment."
Having done a small about of resist dyeing myself I am not surprised that this is the case.

Jon

I am not sure that I agree with you that Louis kerchief is the result of an error but feel it is more of an experiment - although we will, of course, never know this. Naturally it would be better to say that it was 'an experiment' since this sounds positive and creative rather than an error when the dyer shows a lack of skill!!!

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


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