July 23th, 2014
Dying & Dyeing
Last week started with a funeral, a woman from San Rafael had died.
When somebody dies here, all town attends to the funeral and the different ceremonies.
The first night we went to the “velorio”, which takes place in the house. We prayed the rosary and we made company to the family while eating bread and drinking coffee.
It was kind of an adventure to get there, because we had to walk though the mountains in the middle of the night to get to the house, just with a flashlight to see our way.
The next day we attended to the funeral. It started at noon, when the family members gave “pinol” (traditional food) to hundreds of people in their home.
Then we walked from their house in San Rafael down to the cementery in Rabinal (2 hours walk). The volunteers (all of them men) were carrying the body in the front, and we all walked behind them while a band was playing.
It was a very interesting experience! The “ancianitos” (old wise men) were in the front, saying a lot of prayers in “achi”, and making reverences to the four cardinal points. They did that like 4 or 5 times on our way.
The next day after the funeral, we started dyeing yarn! We started by scouring and mordanting the yarn, but also by making a lot of tests!
A few days before I did something crazy, I decided to buy 400 avocado pits from a guy in the market. Actually we are trying to replace the tannic acid with avocado pits for the mordant part. The tannic acid is the most expensive product, so that would be perfect. I think women can get this pits for free on the avocado season and let them dry.
We started by slicing them, and then they had the idea to grind them on a cheese grinder and it worked perfectly.
We also made some tests on rayon and organic cotton.
We dyed with cochineal, osage orange, madder and indigo. All the other colors were a success! But we were really having troble with indigo. This time we made an organic vat made with banana juice (last time we tried with mangos and it worked well).
We made two indigo vats, but we were having trouble to achieve the same shades of blue. With the first pound we got beautiful dark blues but then it was difficult to get even colors.
We let the vat rest, we added more sugar (hot banana juice) and more lime. And when we got back like 4 hours later, the vat was even worst!
The indigo wasn’t reduced!
At first I was desperate! But after trying a lot of different things, I just decided we should try a new one.
At the end we were even making jokes about how the indigo was sick and had died!
So, I don’t know what happened to that vat, it just made me realize that dying with Indigo, specially with an organic vat, is really a challenge.
The women are a little bit worried about Indigo, they don’t really understand it. But I will try to change that! It’s just a matter of practice!
Good bye Abelina
I’moving to Elvira’s today. So I’ll say goodbye to this wonderful family, Abelina’s family is wonderful. She has three daughters (Leily,Mishel and Karen) and one son (Edwin).
Mishel is 8, and we got along really well! She’s very nice and cute!
I won’t be on this side of the mountains anymore. I’ll miss that!
It’s very far away from town, but full with nature and amazing landscapes.
To go anywhere we need to walk like 30-35 minutes through the mountains.
Don’t miss my new adventures at Elvira’s… and more dyeing is coming!
Wilaa wiib’ (good bye in achí)