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HYDROGEN BONDING A narrative by Emmalee, Patricia, Sara, Sisley Parsons The New School for Design In collaboration with Thirst Lab at Proteus Gowanus Curated by Lydia Matthews and Current Collective


in Dyeing, Felting and Water Molecule-Making Presented by

Hope Ginsburg

Artist and educator at Virginia Commonwealth University

Laura Sansone

Owner of House-Wear Design Studio Educator at Parsons The New School for Design


is a literal backwater, a tidal swamp that has been channeled and paved over by political, economic and environmental forces since the first European colonists arrived around the 19th century.

Proteus Gowanus:

An interdisciplinary gallery with an adjacent reading room. It was the perfect choice for the Thirst Lab Workshops, as water is the core of both the Proteus Gowanus space and the workshops. The space is named after the Greek sea god of change and the Gowanus Canal. It was created to be an interpreter of art and culture to the community.

Natural Dyeing Laura Sansone demonstrated techniques in natural dyeing using locally grown produce. Her nomadic “Mobile Textile Lab� project at the local New York City Greenmarkets successfully engages people through crafts like fiber dyeing and spinning. It also allows the community to experience and become aware of environmentally friendly alternatives to industrial dyes; a contaminating agent that has had a great impact on the waters of the Gowanus Canal since the 1860s. Click HERE to watch the 10 min video of an interview with Laura Sansone about her insights on dyeing, green market, fiber production and their affect on the environment with a new systematic change of thinking.

Tools & M



POTS: Non-reactive dyepot of stainless steel. Iron, aluminum, o they will alter the color of the dye.

RUBBER GLOVES: For safety throughout all stages of the nat

THERMOMETER: To keep track of the temperature of the wa affect the result. JARS: For dye bath storage.

or copper pots

tural dye process.

ater, which could



FIBER: Cellulose fibe

MORDANT: Metal sa


Natural dyes are colors that are extracted from plants (and insects)

ers or protein fibers for dyeing.

alts and tannins used to fix the dyes to the fibers.


The mordant joins the fiber to the dye to permanently fix it. There are different mordants and each will draw out a different shade of color. There are some metal mordants that are toxic such as copper, tin and chrome. Since these mordants are bad for our bodies and the environment, we only use alum, iron, and tannin. Typically, Alum (aluminum sulfate) and Iron (ferrous sulfate) are used for wool, while tannin, myrobalan, alum and iron can be used for cotton. ALUM-Potassium aluminum sulfate is the mordant most frequently used for protein fibers, cottons in combination with a tannin mordant DONE IN SEPARATE BATHS. Alum keeps colors clear (does not tint).

TANNIN-tannic acid is a mordant used with cellulose fibers before alum. Alum does not bond as easily to cellulose fibers as it does with protein fibers. MYROBALAN-this dye is from the nuts of the Terminalia chebula tree, which grows in Asia. It may be used as both a mordant and a dye,, giving a buttery yellow color to the fiber. IRON-Ferrous sulfate is a mordant that helps with color and light fastness, and is used as a color changer. It works very well on cellulose fibers and should be used with care on protein fibers, because it can make them brittle.

Other Additives: Cream of Tartar or Tartaric Acid- This helps soften the fiber when harsh mordants are used (iron). Vinegar (acetic acid)- This is used in small quantities to help wool and silk absorb the dye. It can also be used as an after bath to alter the dye color. Lemon Juice (citric acid)- This is used to alter the color of some dyes. Soda Ash (sodium carbonate)- This is used to alter the color of some dyes. Add to the dye bath to create a more alkaline dye liquor.

PH Level Adding washing or baking soda, or even ash from wood, can shift the PH level of the water, thus changing the color of the dye.

Process 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Cut the dye source. This will vary depending on the dyestuffs

Add enough water to cover the source Simmer for about 30 minutes (Times may vary) Strain and put liquid into a non- reactive dye pot (stainless steel, plastic, enamel)

Add pre-mordanted (wet) fiber to dye pot slowly bring to a simmer

Simmer for 40-60 minutes. Let cool Rinse well with cool water, wash with soap and rinse again



Laura’s Dye Book

Water Felting Hope Ginsburg and her Sponge HQ shed a different light on the idea of collaboration, through an interesting conceptual narrative that culminates in the production of felt. The thought behind the Sponge HQ is inspired by an adult multicellular organism resulting from interconnections of single cell organisms, that attaches itself to a system (reef), at the bottom of it, and while it doesn’t move it’s constantly productive providing support to the greater context. Ginsburg shows how felting is similar to the sponge’s life, by engaging the attendants in the process of making water molecules using the technique.

Needle Felting

Single needle or wooden pre-felting brush and felting surface such as a sponge or piece of foam.

Hand Felting

Soap, warm water, cold water, pair of hands.


Natural Wool Fibers: For the workshop, Ginsburg utilized the fibers she and Sponge HQ dyed from the Weather Permitting project in Brazil back in the 9th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil.


1 Roll small sections of wool fibers into balls, simulating the water molecules. 2 Wet your hands in warm water and add a little bit of soap. 3 Wet the water molecules, shaping them, without squeezing.

4 Repeat the process until the balls are solidified. 5 Alternate dipping the molecules in warm and cool water, rolling them until the final shape hardens. 6 Let dry.

Final Products

Water molecules: two equal sized balls joined together with a bigger ball of felt either by small pins or needle felted together.

Sponge HQ is an interdisciplinary lab, workshop

and project space installed at the Virginia Commonwea University’s Anderson Gallery in Richmond, VA, which home to Hope Ginsburg’s Sponge project and the ex Colablablab curriculum. For the Thirst Exhibition, they water adventure gear to complement the fourth Thirs “Aquatherapy” Workshop. The interlocking of animal constructs a piece of natural felt is an apt analogy for together of topics in a Sponge event. Because of its and structural relationship with the project, along with simplicity of the process, felting has been included as on component in Sponge workshops since they beg

p, classroom alth serves as xperimental y felted stlab fibers that r the fittingconceptual h the relative s a handsgan.

Thirst: O Presented by

Chris Lovric Brooklyn Homebrew



As part of the Thirst Opening reception, Chris Lovrich, a teacher at the nearby Brooklyn Homebrew shop, talked about the way differences in the pH of water and its boiling time can critically affect the taste of the beer, as well as demonstrating many different elements that can be used in order to add flavor to the end product.


Water: Serves as base for the beer. Grains: Give the beer consistency. More grains equal stronger beer. Hops: Provide aroma, flavor and bitterness. Yeast: Allows for the concoction to turn into beer.

Process 1 2 3 4 5

Soak the grains in hot water to release the malt sugars.

Boil the malt sugar solution with Hops for seasoning. Cool the solution and add yeast to begin fermentation. The yeast ferments the sugars, releasing CO2 and ethyl alcohol (about 2 weeks).

When the main fermentation is complete, the beer will be ready to be bottled.

Final Product Thirst Gowanus Brackish Brew

Thirst Exhibition Workshop 1: Hydrogen Bonding  

This publication documents the workshop 1 from the Thirst Exhibition at Proteus Gowanus on March 22, 2014. Laura Sansone demonstrated her na...

Thirst Exhibition Workshop 1: Hydrogen Bonding  

This publication documents the workshop 1 from the Thirst Exhibition at Proteus Gowanus on March 22, 2014. Laura Sansone demonstrated her na...