I work with colour in the dye lab and apply it in both conventional and unconventional ways. There’s so much behind what I do, from using the right dye, mixing the right colours, to matching colours and the colour theory behind it.
Eloise O’Brian Scott
Colour and Dye Technician
Eloise's job title is Technical Instructor in dyeing textiles and printed textiles at Royal College of Art
What I do
Hear more about Eloise's role by watching the video below...
How I became a technician
I had always loved creative subjects, but I think there is sometimes a pressure at school not to do them. So, originally, I went down a more academic route, studying law, psychology, and photography at school. I'd started applying to universities when I realised I really didn’t like or enjoy law. So, I did a foundation in Art and Design at Colchester School of Art and cancelled my university applications.
I fell in love with textiles and went on to do a Fashion and Textiles Degree with the University of Essex. I absolutely loved it. The class sizes were small, so I got so much more technical assistance and time with the facilities. My textiles tutor helped me apply to the Royal College of Art (RCA) when I was studying. I originally saw this role advertised as a short-term temporary position, but I have been here for over a year.
A typical day in my
Where I work is a bit like a kitchen and I'm normally here from 9.30 to 5.30 four days a week. We have metal benches with induction hobs and a process room with custom built dye vats, which are steam heated. We have a wall of dyes which include four different types of dyes for different fibres – protein, synthetic, cellulosic and natural.
As well as fashion and textiles, the dye lab is open across the college, so I also work with students from sculpture, metal, and jewellery. Every day is different as each student is constantly working with different fabrics, colour choices, and experimenting with different things. I love inspiring them and passing on knowledge to get them to where they want to be in their project.
A surprising fact about my job
We stock about 120 dyes, but the colour choice is unlimited because you can create any colour from that combination. Normally you mix two or three different dyes to create the colour you are looking for.
What I love most about my job
The most rewarding part of my job is working with students every day. I feel very appreciated and it’s interesting because you work on so many different projects. One of the students I worked with won an award and she has now built her own brand – it’s really exciting to see what people do.
What I wear to work
PPE is a big part of my work wear because I am in charge of diluting chemicals and getting things to a safe concentration for the students to use. I wear different masks, ear protection, and heat proof gloves depending on what I am doing. I wear all black every day because I have specs of dye on everything I own!