May 3, 2011

Coastal Natural Dyes

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. 



21 comments:

ria vogelzang said...

Wow, that's just stunning, Nat! Just love your fabrics!
Good to hear you had such a great time with your family! Thanks for commenting on my blog.
Hope to be back soon.
Love, Ria.

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Wow wow wow Nat...this is all all amazing, such beautiful warm colours...I love them all...Dzintra

Needled Mom said...

Oh Nat....those look so beautiful. I wish I had been along with you. The Shibori designs are just amazing. What fun for both of you!!!

Kim said...

You just amaze me Nat.....so many talents!
What a lovely way to spend time with your DIL too...I bet she was as impressed as I am with your dying skills. Just lovely Nat.

Happy Sewing

Simone de Klerk said...

Amazing colors and designs, Nat. What fun this must have been to do (o:

Storycloth said...

Hi Nat - what a great post and yes a wonderful way to visit with your DIL. I just love the -'everything for Lady Yahya' comment! Priceless! You gave a solid sense of direction to your Easter weekend. Family memeories. Beautiful dye work Nat. Gilly

Els said...

O Nat! I'm flabbergasted !!! LOVE all those warm warm "bush"colours you got there, ánd of course the shibori, like a pro! Do you use separate pieces of yarn to make each square after folding it lengthwise?
(I will have a workshop with Pam de Groot in July: felting and dyeing)

deanna7trees said...

how wonderful that you 'took with you and gathered where you visited'. wonderful variety of methods and fabulous results.

kaite said...

lots of good dyeing and colour there Nat.

Suzanna said...

Very inspiring Nat...I love the eucalyptus imprints especially.

Bron said...

hi Nat, i love this post. you are amazing and wonderful and you just inspire me so much. We had such a fun time collecting and experimenting with all the bits and pieces we collected. thank you for being the best mum in law i could ever want for. love u always.

Suedio said...

Nat, how fantastic your work is - absolutely stunning. Kioloa is a beautiful part of the world to spend your time . . . lucky you!

Love the new look on your blog, too.

Regards, Sue

Terry said...

Lovely shibori results. I like the eucylaptus leaves.
The lichen is always a suorise.. Great Result how did you use the wood ash. Just add to the dye liquor or what?

It's great when your G.C."s appreciate what you do.

Willow said...

I just love that color. It is so pretty. My Granddaughters birthday is the 10th and her Mother is going to buy some t-shirts and have a tie-dye party for her and her friends on it.

Barb said...

fabulous! I love the color and designs.

Bev C said...

Hello Nat,

Such an interesting post. It is amazing that things that are just out the back door help make that beautiful material. Real Autumn colours.
Thanks for sharing your holidays.
Bev.xoxo

woman with wings said...

Well, Nat, I'm thinking you should write a book. This was fascinating, felt like I was peeking over your shoulder -- it's all so out of my reality -- the sea water, the lichens, the seaweed, spotted gum bark. The cloth is beautiful. What a treat. Thanks, Lady Yahya!

AnnieO said...

Totally gorgeous! Really love the orange from the lichen. What fun you'll have playing with your dyed lovelies!

cindy said...

wow. thank you for walking us through this amazing, lovely process-beautiful pieces.

Karen said...

Just fabulous!! And, fun to do, I'm sure.

Sand and Sunshine said...

Wow these look great, love how green your efforts are. Beautiful.

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