Dye Lesson, February 6th, 2009

Weavercraft Hall - Dye Area

Little more than a space squared off under a large canvas supported by poles, this area is marked by a scent, bordering on the nauseating, slowly being diffused by the open air. Here are resting several large vats, some brewing over high flames, some idly cooling. Deep soupy colors can be seen churning within each as weavers of different ranks hover about. Boxes and crates can be found pushed off in corners during the day where more people are bent over preparing ingredients for future batches of dye.

Kagora has two vats of rainwater simmering over a flame burner. Crisp dried indigo flowers, used for the making of indigo blue dye has been set out, sorted, and processed on the work table. Morters and pestles have been set out for apprentices, as well as heavy aprons and safety glases. Long thin handled spoons for stirring. Strainers for removing the flowers from the finished dye as well as glass canning jars to keep the finished product in. Already safety suited, she waits patiently for the apprentices to arrive.

X'hil is in the door quickly, any faster and he'd be running. He tugs on his riding gloves as he goes, having already removed one by the time he enters the room, and struggling with the second. He really needs to get himself a larger pair of gloves. Finally he wriggles his hand free, and shoves the gloves in his jacket pocket, removing the jacket and leaving it near the door. "I… Sorry… Not late… I hope?" he says, between breaths, as he moves over to a work station, putting on the apron and glasses.

Thea enters the dye area, just stopping inside the door. A sheaf of papers are rolled in her hands and she's looking about. "Looks like they're about to start class." She observes quietly to the girl with her. She spots Kagora and gives the woman a smile, glancing around the room. As running footsteps sound, she presses to the wall and X'hil passes her. She speaks up, adressing Kagora, "Ah, I'm sorry too. don't want to interrupt."

Cenlia is followng Thea, looking a bit pale but with a grin on her face. She mumbles, more to herself than anyone else, "Haven't been near here in ages, not since Striel and her foster ma went north to Fort." Two tiny blue firelizard hatchlings are on the girl's shoulders - one midnight dark, the other summer-sky bright - both looking fairly alert. Cenlia moves aside as X'hil goes past, and when she spots the indigo being prepared for dyes, she murmurs appreciatively, "Lovely plant, that one."

Kagora shakes her head. "Nope. Not an interruption. Would you like to hang around for a little while?" She eyes Thea's knots, trying to get her rank. "I allow non apprentices to watch sometimes, queenrider. I'd hate to think you came all the way from Xanadu to be turned away." She nods greeting to Cenlia as well. "Its just a simple lesson really, basic dye making. No craft secrets involved."

Indigo may very well be a lovely plant, but X'hil is kind of looking forward to destroying it to get the colour out. In a professional capacity only, naturally! He does glance over to Cenlia though, smiling slightly, and nodding to the dried indigo flowers. "The colour is great, don't you think?" he asks, feeling free to chat, since there hasn't been any order to the contrary. The lesson hasn't technically /started/ yet, has it? No, he can talk…

Thea steps further into the room, interest showing in her eyes as she glances at the pots, "Thea, Ma'am. I was a Weaver once…" Her voice trails off as she moves towards the woman, extending the roll. "Ysa's notes said to bring you this. And I'd be interested in watching your dyeing techniques, if that's all right?"

Cenlia nods politely, returning Kagora's greeting with a soft, "Ma'am." The girl nods again to X'hil, saying softly, "It is. Always wondered what happens after the flowers're picked."

Kagora nods and says. "That's fine. Your guest is welcome too. Get a heavy apron and goggles over there. I don't want a guest to get dye in their eyes. Unfortunately if you don't have a weaver knot." She tells Cenlia. "I can't let you handle the dye. your friend is a former weaver so she may. You just need to don safety gear and stand back. I'll sign for the delivery while you all get suited up."

X'hil nods a little at Cenlia, in an amiable fashion. "Ah, well, you're in just the right place to find out, ah…?" he seems to be searching for a name, but he doesn't know Cenlia's. He nods absently as Kagora gives instructions to get suited up, though he already has done. The bronzerider turned apprentice adjusts his goggles slightly, and checks his apron is on securely, though there was really no need to do either. Fidget fidget fidget.

"Thank you," Thea relinquishes the roll and heads over to the gear, slipping out of her riding jacket and into the apron and goggles. She looks uncertain about handling anything else, though. She takes a pair of goggles and wanders back towards Cenlia and X'hil. "These will make me look like… a bug." She observes wryly, dangling them in her hands.

Cenlia says "Oh, I'm Cenlia," the girl smiles, and follows Thea's lead to donning the safety gear. At the mention of the goggles, Cenlia giggles, saying, "You should see the orchardfolk out in spray gear, when we fertilize the fields. Like an army of giant trundlebugs with long nozzes.""

Kagora nods. "Kagora. I'm the apprenticemaster here. X'hil is a freelancer from Ierne Weyrhold. And you young miss?" She asks Thea calmly as she signs the roll, puts it aside, and checks the heat on the boiling vat. "Good, still at the right temperature. We use rainwater because its cleaner than the tap."

X'hil can't help himself, he chuckles a little at the bug comment, then turns to stare at Thea with big round buggy eyes, though he can't keep it up before chuckling again. "You'll be fine, no worse than the rest of us." he notes, with a grin. Cenlia's introduction gets a nod, "Cenlia. I'm, yeah, X'hil. That's me." he nods as Kagora beats him to the introductions thing. "Half bug, half man." OoooOooo. Yeah, he's just joking around. He's gotten a lot less 'serious' of late, though he does go quiet when Kagora speaks, paying attention. 'Rainwater', he mouths, nodding as he commits it to memory.

Thea tilts her head, grinning at Cenlia, "Ya don't say? I think that'd be interesting to see." She opens her mouth to say something to X'hil, but turns quickly when Kagora speaks, "Me, Ma'am? Uh, Thea, Junior Weyrwoman at Xanadu, formerly of Coldstone Hold, fiber production and marketing specialist." She looks mollified for a moment at spewing out such a mouthful. X'hil's antics cause her to smother a laugh, before she's peering with interest at the vats, blurting out her question to Kagora, "Rainwater is? Why is that?"

Cenlia snickers at X'hil's half-bug/half-man comment, and grins at Thea, "Might be able to," saying this with a fair bit of mischief in her eyes. But then the girl glances at the vats, apparently also curious about the rainwater versus tapwater.

Kagora smiles as she pulls out an extra morter and pestle for Thea and offers it to her. "Because, rainwater has fewer minerals than fresh water, or seawater which will NEVER make good dye. Tell me Thea, do you know your product? Please tell X'hil about indigo." She says with a nod. "What kinds of places grow it, what areas of Pern use it most, how much does it generally cost per bushel?"

A look crosses over X'hil's face briefly as Xanadu mentioned, a vaguely dark and brooding sort of look, but it quickly passes. He's not that X'hil anymore, he's X'hil, class clown. X'hil, dutiful apprentice. Yes. Right. Dutiful apprentice. He tilts his head at Kagora, with a frown. Where it grows? How much it costs? He turns to Thea, curiously. Attention is being paid here, yes.

Thea takes the mortar and pestal from Kagora and just looks at them like they'd bite her. "My products were all undyed natural fibers and weaves, Ma'am. I know them very well, but Holder Thadan didn't hold to dyeing." She pauses, searching her memory and notes the fleeting look on X'hil's face with a blink. Hmm. Then she answers Kagora, dutifully telling the Bronzerider, "Indigo grows in subtropical areas of Pern and it makes a nice blue color, which my Da would hate." She can't help but insert. "The price can fluctuate greatly depending on the crop output and demand."

Cenlia eyes the plant bits lying around thoughtfully as she listens to Thea's description of indigo, grinning a bit at the way Thea's eyeing the mortar and pestle. She doesn't say anything, though her eyebrows rise a bit.

Kagora sighs, takes her own morter and pestle and places some of the leaf into it. "Like this Thea." She begins to pound and grind at the plant. "Normally dye is boiled quickly and finished within 20 minutes or 3 hours. However, indigo needs to be fermented as well. So when we're done boiling we'll cool the brew, bottle and put in the back rooms to age." She explains as she demonstrates the morter and pestle for Thea and X'hil. "Go ahead, get started X'hil. Thea I'll let you know when you've crushed it to the right consistancy but it needs to be very fine. At about the consistancy of crushed red pepper in the kitchens?" She suggests, showing Thea some of the pounded indigo already. "Like that."

X'hil pretends there was no fleeting look, naturally. He nods as Thea talks, mouthing key words and phrases, like 'subtropical' and 'price can fluctuate', and 'output and demand', apparently because it helps him to memorise these details. He picks up the pestle - or is it the mortar? The stick, not the bowl - and twirls it around in the .. other thing, as if he's mushing up, or stirring rather, some imaginary thing. He quickly switches over to the real thing on Kagora's orders, alternating between slowly grinding in a circular motion and just flat out pounding it in an up and down stabbing motion. Might not be /quite/ the right technique, but it gets the job done, right?

Thea watches Kagora carefully and imitates her, sprinkling in some leaves and working the pestle so they are beginning to crumble. "They don't… look blue." She comments idly, squinting at the stuff. At the mention of fermenting, she gives Cenlia a wink and mouthes silently, 'don't drink it'. Obviously not serious. She glances at X'hil's work. "Hey that's pretty good. Mine is… still flaky."

Cenlia tilts her head to the side, watching X'hil and Thea using the mortar and pestle, and giggles at Thea's mouthed warning. She gives the goldrider a wink, then asks idly, "How long's it take to ferment?"

Kagora grins. "As long as it takes to make quickal home liquer farmer. The liquid needs to be fermented, the pulp skimmed out, the purified product has to be rebottled for use by our crafters. This process here is the start, and it shouldn't take long. I want to cover the basic concepts surrounding mordents as well Thea, X'hil, Cenlia do either of you know what those are?"

Thea nods, offhandedly answering, "You mean the additives to make the dye fast - like acids?" She looks at X'hil speculatively, "'home liquer farmer?'" Her eyes slide to Cenlia and back to the bronzer. Hmm.

X'hil grins at Thea, and gives a few demonstrating pounds, "You've really got to work at it, put your strength in." he advises, rather enjoying this part of the lesson. Bang bang pound, good honest fun! "I, uh… Mordants? They're used to treat … dyes? Or dyed things?" he frowns, he should … know this. Shouldn't he? Well, there /is/ a reason he's an apprentice…

At the mention of home liquor farmer, Cenlia laughs, saying mock-seriously "Right, about six months then," and she winks at Thea again. She mouths back at the goldrider, 'can't taste worse en tuber ale.' Eyes twinkling merrily, the girl continues to watch Thea and X'hil pounding the indigo leaves.

Kagora nods. "Mordents make a dye brighter. But they can irritate some people with sensitive skin. So be careful how and what you use them for, try to avoid them on undergarments that touch more….. sensitive portions of the body or people who have an allergy or other skin condition. The proportion of each mordent depends on the dye you're making /and/ on the individual mordent. Too much of the wrong substance can turn a pale blush rose into an electric pink. The color called 'hot magenta?' It can be achieved accidentally if an apprentice's hand slips and spills too much mordent into the wrong vat. And madam farmer, unlike your 'vodka' I think is that potato liquer? Unlike liquer this cannot be eaten. So I would not advise you to try. Though a very nice decorative paper could be made easily from the skimmed pulp."

X'hil ahhs, and nods, mouthing key words to himself as he crushes his indigo. He'll probably keep going there until told to stop, though he does take a break every couple of pounds to glance at the consistency of his work, so, perhaps he will stop on his own, when the time is right. He smirks a little at the alcohol talk, glancing over to Cenlia, mouthing, 'Talk to you after?' meaning after the lesson, obviously.

Thea pounds harder at X'hil's suggestion. Yay for crushing things! She snickers at bit at Kagora's next words, "I'm fairly certain my undergarments are safe," she comments dryly. Then for some reason the words 'electric pink' set her to chortling quietly to herself and she's nodding, "Or a few hapless girls moving tubs about." She notes the communication between the bronzer and her friend and her eyes twinkle, "Wonder if vodka turns your insides hot magenta, eh, Cenlia?"

Cenlia gives Kagora a grin and nods, "Tuber ale is vodka," adding, "With some luck." She peers at the nearby vats and says, "Imagine this stuff'd turn your insides blue, too. Definitely not something I'd wanna drink." With all the mouthed words, Cenlia can't help but giggle. Inclining her head briefly towards X'hil, she goes back to peering over Thea's shoulder, laughing again at the magenta comment, and says, "Sure hope not. Heard about that from A'dar - You guys managed to dye a dragon pink, didn't you?"

Kagora blinks. "You dyed a dragon /pink?/" Kagora demands, breaking out in a giggle. The master rolls her eyes. "Dyed a dragon pink. Great shells." She laughs. "Alright. Time to get boiling." She takes the ground and pours it into the water vat. "Go on, with yours."

X'hil snickers a little bit at that. /Pink/ dragon. That's insane. "Shards, if someone tried that on /Kinseth/… He'd sulk in the weyr until it wore off. He's a very," he breaks off and searches for the most tactful word, "A very /proud/ dragon." He shakes his head, and adds his very finely powdered indigo to the vat of water.

Thea nods to X'hil, Cenlia and Kagora at the same time, "Yeah, an accident. Both of us and the dragon, too. More like a splatter job, though." At Kagora's bidding, she hesitantly approaches the vat with her mortar of indigo powder, "Into this one?" But she pours it in before she gets an answer because something has claimed her attention. She's stripping off the apron and goggles, thrusting them towards Cenlia, "Oh shells! Seryth says I must get back to Xanadu because—-" She doesn't finish, but grabs her jacket and dashes off with a mightily worried look on her face. She's clearly upset because she totally forgets to tow her guest back with her.

Cenlia acks as Thea leaves, getting out a "Hey w-" but then the goldrider is gone and Cenlia groans, "Ugh, my uncle's gonna have my hide when I show up back at the orchard with two flits and no ride back." She runs a hand through her hair, giving the remaining folka sheepish grin, "Guess I better head off and see if I can find my way back." She smiles at Kagora and says, "Thanks for letting me watch,Ma'am."

X'hil frowns a little at Thea's rapid exit, then glances to Cenlia. "Hey. I'm not doing anything, I could … give you a lift?" he offers, with a friendly sort of smile. "If, er, well, it's up to you?" he does add, quickly. "Kinseth," he pauses, eyes unfocusing for a moment. "Kinseth is agreeable. And besides, there's the matter of tubers and fermentation. I'd /love/ to learn more about that." he notes, with a cheeky twinkle in his eye. Learn. Right.

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