Learning & Knowing | Exhibition

Color Cube: madder x weld x indigo

Erika Molnar


Erika Baumgartner Molnar is endlessly curious. She is a skilled natural dyer with a background in biology and chemistry, a textile artist and a custom quiltmaker. She teaches and thinks about color, and about minimizing the environmental impact of textiles through thoughtful working methods, through reuse, and through repurposing. She makes all sorts of things (pickles, bathrooms, shoelaces, mittens) because she cannot help herself.

This cube is a teaching object used to share the immense possibility of color in natural dyes. Just three natural dyes, in this case madder (red), weld (yellow) and indigo (blue), can interact to produce thousands of shades of color. Because of the biochemistry of their dye components, they act like an RYB palette. Exploring the limits of these combinations --and seeing the similarities to and differences from other natural dye combinations -- is an amazing way to learn deeply about the nature of color from plants and insects. This color exploration was done using a low-water, mixed dye bath method