A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Friday, February 7, 2014

An Interview with Ann Johnston, Part One

Thank you, Ann, for answering some of our questions!  The picture above is grabbed from Ann's website.
How did you come upon the idea of LWI? I know you spoke a bit about it on the DVD but just the thought process would be interesting
I have told this story so many times, but it still makes me wonder why no one did the low-water immersion before I did. I guess we were all busy trying to make our hand dyed fabric look professional, commercial, even, etc. which requires lots of water, big buckets, long gloves, a scale to weigh everything, endless stirring and various adaptations with salt  and difficulties with dark colors and is actually almost impossible to get the colors as even as the machines can. I call it the traditional vat method. And that's what all the teachers taught. When I saw the pieces we missed stirring hidden in the bottom of the 5 gallon bucket, that was the beginning. Dividing the quantities in half with the same results, and in half again, using so much less dye seemed like a gift. It was the chemist at Pro Chem, Don Wiener, who told me that I should leave out the salt as it could prevent the dye from penetrating the fibers. Another advantage. I don't always want dramatically variegated colors but they were unique and attractive to the eye, they made the solids look flat. Now, I have learned a lot of variations to how to manipulate the fabric for different effects. Very fun and useful too.

What was the idea behind taking pure colors and mixing them? What were your ultimate goals? Was it just "what if"?
The reason I started with using only single-chemical colors is that they cost less in larger quantities and I can mix them and learn what they do. If I use mixes they are sometimes discontinued or are changed using different colors to get to the same mix. There are so many mixed colors, and I would change them anyway by adding something to them or by putting them over another color. If I use only 10 or 14 or so, I can learn more about them and know that I had to have used some of those to get the color I had last week, not some of over 200 colors. 

What other workshops, DVD's or classes to you offer outside of your dyeing workshops.
I offer a variety of dye workshops and some design workshops for groups and conferences. you can see the list here, each has a link to a description.
I also offer a few workshops in my studio each year. These are variations on the same topics, but much more focused as the classes have only four people and I can adapt the information to the interests of the individuals. You can see the list with links to descriptions for 2014 here:
Registration CLOSES for all 3 workshops February 21, 2014.


  1. I love the story about LWI. Wow. Just think of where we would be without this technique. Thanks Ann!


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