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  • thedrumwoman | Melonie

Tie - Dye Experiments


So, I have been on a journey making my own goat rawhide. The process has given me a deeper respect for the animals that I work with and those that I buy from that make their own rawhide.


It has also taught me that I will be moving to a space with more land so that I can do this work properly and make links with farmers and walkers so that I can work with animals that have died of natural causes or are road kill. But that is another story.


So, my goat hides were pale coloured but the back had black and grey flecks on where I didn't manage to clear the lye solution ashes off well enough. They also still smelt.


I had also dreamed into some new drums and one had asked for a blue spiral to by dyed into the hide. This sparked my imagination. How would I do this?


I decided to experiment with the goat hides. It would hide the ashy colour on the back of the hide and the goat hide, when wet, goes really pliable. I would be able to experiment with tie-dye as I could easily manipulate the hides.


So, I bought some ocean blue Dylon and set to work. First I soaked the hides to make them pliable and used garden string to wrap around them in different ways. I tried to tighten hard so as not to let the dye in. I had one that would be rings and one that would be the spiral.


Then I made up the solution. You need 250g of salt for this so make sure you have that in place before you start.


I placed it all in my sink and popped in the hides.

The dye looked really purple but, what the heck, let's see what happens.


You had to stir it all in and then come back to it regularly over an hour.


So I did. Then I rinsed it all until the hides ran with clear water and I undid the string and hung the hides up to dry.


Now, this was a part success. The hides successfully took the colour. But, the patterns I had hoped for were not there. I realised later that the string wasn't bound tight enough and the spiral one should have been placed in the dye and then turned over at intervals so that the colours didn't flood the whole hide, which it did. Next time!

I hope you'll agree thought that they look fantastic.

Once they dried I noticed something else. The smell had gone! These goat hides had stunk for months! I had to keep them outside in a locked up box to save us all the stench and now, no smell at all! Bonus!


So, I set to work and turned these beauties into drums! The hide looks purple in electric light but is really very blue. You can see it in the first picture on its first outing with the other drums to our monthly drum circle in Balham.


So, I now have a book called Wild Colour and the aim is to try out wild, natural dyes and see where this takes me. I'm also collecting rubber bands to use instead of string!


#drumbirthing #goat #tiedye #handmade #drum #framedrum

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