Searching for dyeing materials started as soon as we took off on our Easter holiday trip. We had a long drive to get to DS and his family. We enjoyed the drive and regularly make this trip to visit them. We made a few stops on our way. At each stop I would be looking for something I can use for dyeing. I gathered some autumn leaves at each stop.
After an overnight stay at DS we all took off together to Kioloa Beach, South Coast of NSW. The Kioloa Beach Cottage is only 3 minutes walk from the beautiful sandy beach where we had a few swims. On one of the bush walks at Bowley Point I collected some Spotted gum bark and some lichen for dyeing. My DIL and the two year old DGD were my assistants in searching for dyeing material. Everything is for Lady Yahya (that's me) said DGD...!
At the cottage I set up a dye station using the table on the back patio. I took my dye pot with me from home. The bark is brewing in rain water. The silk was soaking overnight in sea water. Sea water acts as mordant. I had steamed the first batch the night before. You can see them in zip-lock bag on the table.
I bundled up silk with a variety of plants like Eucalyptus leaves, sea weed, lichen, pin oak leaves and liquid amber leaves. I brewed them in a spotted gum dye bath for 45 minutes and then left it over night before unwrapping.
These are the bundles that I steamed the first day we got there. I stored them in zip-lock bags and left them out in the sun for a day before unwrapping. You can see the imprints of the Eucalyptus leaves showing through in some of the bundles.
Here they are revealed in all their glorious colour in all shades and designs. DIL and I had so much fun unwrapping them. We were supposed to leave them for another day, but with both DGC asleep the short amount of free time was too good to miss!
The closed up photos of the Eucalyptus leaves imprints on silk. Aren't they gorgeous? Almost good enough to eat...!
Another dye I did was Shibori dyed. I wanted to try the lichen I gathered from a fallen log I picked up on our walk. I didn't know anything about lichen, but DIL told me she remembers her mother used to dye yarns with lichen. Instead of putting plain silk in the dye bath I decided to do stitched Shibori (Kamasu) to the silk before I dyed it. I used wood ash as mordant for this piece. I found wood ash in the wood BBQ in the yard. I filled up a jar to bring some home as well.
You can see the Shibori pieces snugged in with the lichen over the stove. The colour shows up after a few minutes of boiling. I was so excited to see the bright orange given out by the lichen.
We were due to leave later that day, and I should have really left it for at least overnight before unwrapping it. I transferred the whole content of the dye bath into a zip-lock bag and took it back with us. We couldn't wait until the next day when we unwrapped them that evening. The results are as you see in the above and below photos.
This piece was DIL's. She wanted to try the shibori technique. This one was quite easy. I just drew half a circle on the folded fabric, stitched and tied it. It is called Karamatsu Shibori.
Another Shibori piece showing a pattern that I accidentally discovered how to make. It was late at night and I wanted to get all the silk that had been soaked in sea water overnight into the dye pot. I wanted to give the pattern some texture, so I fan folded the fabric lengthwise and folded it into triangles. I roughly tied two long ends of the triangles with elastic bands and the result is as you see above. This piece was dyed in the bark bath.