After three years of telling myself, "Don't worry, you'll get back to the fabric dyeing one day", and not going back to it at all, I finally dismantled my outdoor dye station. This workspace consisted of a 2.5 foot x 5 foot piece of plywood set atop two plastic fold-out saw horses (these are cool - the hinge folds flat between the legs and makes a shelf). Draped over the plywood were three old vinyl shower curtains, too grungy to be near squeaky-clean bodies, but intact enough to waterproof a nasty piece of wood. Under the curtain-covered plank: old enameled canning pots along with jars for mixing dyes, and sticks for stirring boiling hot dye buckets. Stacked beside the table were 18 white plastic 5-gallon buckets. On the edge of the driveway sat two propane burners and tanks which I used to boil water. Around all of this neglected area, English ivy grew amok. I wish I'd thought to take a picture before dismantling it all, but, alas, I forgot.
The station, just outside the kitchen door and past the old basketball net, was an eyesore. I could justify it being there only if I was actually using it. So sad; it got to the point where I stopped noticing the mess, except on rainy days when I had to walk the dog through the mud. I killed the grass in front of the table during my first year of active dyeing by knocking over the dye-filled buckets with 5 foot long fabric wrapped poles too tall for them. Turns out, grass prefers not to be watered with boiling water.
Last Saturday, the hottest day of the year so far, I went out in long sleeves, long pants tucked into socks, and sprayed the heck out of myself with Cutter's Outdoor Woods bug repellent to brave the height of mosquito season. Funny, I didn't seem to mind the bugs so much when I was out there working over steaming pots for hours on end. But I sure minded them this time. Even with the bug stuff, the little vampires drilled right through my clothes. I think I donated a double pint!
Anyway, the buckets are put away, I gave one of the burners to my friend and mentor, Lorin Fields, and the plywood is at the street waiting for the trash genies to *poof* it away. Now all that's left of my work area is a lone propane burner and tank, and a patch of dirt. It's nice to have the space free again. But still, I wish it were a mess and that my hand felt good enough to go out and play.
There's a laundry basket remaining full of half-wrapped poles in the storage room and shelves full of dye powders. Lorin is gradually taking raw materials off my hands, freeing up space in the studio for... (you guessed it)...MORE BEADS! Hhhhhmmm...I wonder if I can sweet-talk Marble Man into doing most of the heavy work to help me finish off these poles?