Sunday, September 20, 2015

Art of Dyeing

~ Dyeing is an art itself, requiring a great deal of care, time, and patience to do properly. ~
Dr. T.E. Pryce-Tannatt "How to Dress Salmon Flies" (1914)

I'm still fishing and actively guiding but also it's about time to think of and get ready for my winter projects. For both trout and Atlantic Salmon flies, my initial project, as well as the first and foremost challenge, is to learn dyeing feathers. I know a few people who can give me good advises. Also, nowadays, there are some good information on the internet. Then, I kind of know the initial cost to get started and achieve some successes wouldn't be so expensive. And I have plenty of feathers that I can use for practices and experiments.

So I started from bleaching. Materials and results I have here are NOT wrong but I have already learned the process was not smooth and can be improved by different agents.
Then I proceeded to dyeing. Purposes of experiments were: time to take and amount of dye. Let me show them to you: see two feathers dyed in blue were the first experiment. They weren't dyed properly yet were "overdone" = too long (see feathers are cooked!). I tried to shorten the time then I added more dyeing agents. Tried green then yellow. Finally the red piece in this pictures was the last one of my very first experimental batch.
Just like anything else, the more I practiced, the better results I got and the more comfortable & confident I felt. I also experimented mixing colors. With several trials, I achieved the olive dye!! And I like this marabou plume!!
I also dyed deer hair in black. This is the best black-dyed deer hair I have ever touched!! Perhaps some of you have experienced the same: deer hair dyed black has been very dissatisfying to work with, even those from well-known vendors. I've been suspecting it would be due to dyeing agents or processes. I still don't know why but I'm just happy with what I created.
Along with turkey biots dyed in PMD yellow and baetis olive, I tied: No Hackle Gnat - PMD, Unnamed Caddis - black wing, and No Hackle Gnat - baetis.

I have two major framing projects (and couple more along the way) with Atlantic salmon flies. I needed to do inventory of materials. One of materials that I'm sure I would run out for this season is Indian Crow (Red Ruffed Fruit Crow) substitution feathers. And this is one of the major "pushes" for me to pursue dyeing. Why don't I buy real ones? How much are real ones gonna cost? - Google it!!

After several practices shown above, I felt I can "dip dye" or perhaps I may call "tip dye". It turned out to be GOOD right off!! Eventually it became very tiring for me to stand over the stove and hold tweezers at certain distance over the steam. So I invented a device!! From then on, I started reading books during the process!! Results got even better!! they are!!, along with "Crimper"!!
I do like what I came up with!! With these, I can work on framing projects one by one!!

Over all, dyeing offers me new pleasure and motivations regarding fly-tying. I have just knocked on the door of this new subject. It's gonna be another exciting and learning season!!

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