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Abstract Painting with Snow Dyeing


I decided to make the most of the unusual Portland weather — snow and more snow — and do some snow dyeing. With snow dyeing, there is no control, only serendipitous results. I love all of the results that I got.

I have a lot of the wire basket storage containers that are currently empty. I used four in the downstairs tub. Two upside down and two on top, lined with plastic. This setup would allow the melting snow to drain into the tub.

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I soaked fabric in soda ash, wrung it out and placed it in the containers. I have cotton in the left hand bins and silk — mainly chiffon scarves in the right hand bin.

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I piled snow into tubs and brought it into the bathroom and covered the fabric.

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I had some procion dye concentrates in squirt bottles that I have had for a while. I decided to see if they had any life left and squirted several colors over the silk bin.

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This is what it looked like later in the day.

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For the cotton bin, I donned my respirator and sprinkled dyed powder on to the snow.

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It looked like this later in the day.

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I covered the bins with plastic and left them for 24 hours.

Today, I rinsed them in cold water and put them through a hot wash with synthropol. You can see one of the cotton pieces up at the top. Here is another.


And the third piece of cotton. Hard to believe that this was in the same bin!


I had two cotton scarves that I put in that batch. I got totally different results on these, too. The scarf is so big that I folded it and photographed the two sides.



Here are the two sides of the other one.



I also had a piece of cheesecloth in the mix.


Here is a detail.


The red dye concentrate took over in the bin of silk scarves. A little purple showed up, but I basically got a rosy pink. I am planning to do another big pink quilt and will use some of this for that, so it is all good. (Big pink is the tall building in Portland that looks pink most of the time.)


Tonight we are getting freezing rain so, I don’t think there will be anymore snow dyeing, but I am happy that I got a chance to try it.

9 Responses to “Abstract Painting with Snow Dyeing”

  1. Judy says:

    Gerrie, I really love these! Since we are supposed to have snow tomorrow, I will get busy! I’m glad you did silks too – I will try both cotton and silk.

  2. Judy Rys says:

    Great results. I especially love the first piece. We never get snow here, but the results are pretty similar to ice dyeing. It’s always a great surprise to see how different each piece is.

  3. Margaret says:

    What a fascinating idea – and new to me – wonderful colours. We’ve no snow here in the southern UK – just rain and buckets of it – so I’ll have to file the idea away for a future occasion.

  4. Lisa says:

    You’re pieces turned out wonderfully! Glad you tried it while you had the chance!

  5. vicki miller says:

    These are gorgeous. I reaaly love these effects. But no snow here, it is over 40 degrees celsius. Perhaps I will have to try the crushed ice method that was on the last series of Quilting arts tv.

  6. Connie Rose says:

    These are just fabulous!!

  7. Amy Vetter says:

    The cotton with the multi colors is WOW!!! I’ve always used the dry powder, do you think the concentrates caused the blending in the silk? or was the red just more powerful? I’m still glad we don’t have snow, but ice cubes work well enough for me!

  8. karoda says:

    fabulous! I almost wished it would snow again here so I could try it and then I snapped out of it 🙂

  9. You got lovely results.