The last post was supposed to be the last batch of dyeing before my visit to Japan, but I had some mixed alum left and I didn't want it to go to waste. What else to do? The truth is that I discovered something very interesting which might be of interest to those of you eco-dyers out there. It might not be a new technique for some, but for me it is. I have been using alum, rusty metal and copper for mordant to give a different effect to the fabric. Being a city dweller, rusty metal is not easy to come by. I found rusty nails give solid lumps and uneven patterns on the fabric. While preparing this last bundle I spotted steel wool (the saucepan cleaner steel wool) which I brought back from Japan on my last trip. I know that steel wool gives out good results in natural dye. I learned that in one of the natural dye workshops in Japan.
Our vine leaves are starting to change colour to yellow and brown so I thought I might use some for dyeing. I had a long piece of silk mordanted with alum. I covered the silk with vine leaves and before I rolled it up I sprinkled thinly over it with steel wool. I was sure it will do something, but what? I needed to wait. I only waited for just over a week to unwrap it. I was pleasantly surprised of the result! The photo doesn't do justice to it here. The real colour is camouflage green evenly spread with leave imprints and darker green effects from steel wool. I will be using it again with other leaves in the future for sure...
What else did I dye? The heart in the above photo comes in handy as a patch over a hole. I dyed it using eucalyptus bark cut into a heart shape and placed in between two layers of silk, rolled and steamed.
Moon resisted in natural dye. My experience with moon dyeing came from shibori with indigo dye. I used two pieces of rubber disks over a few layers of silk, secured it with clamps and dropped the whole thing in the dye bath. I think this one was from the oak dyed bath. I love using a moon shape on my boro cloth.
These are how many bundles I did that day. I'm a kind of glad I did it because I can take them to Japan with me as samples for when I give the tour members an eco-dyeing workshop. I hope to experiment with cherry blossoms and its bark.
The large bundle was this long linen shirt I found at my local opportunity shop. I turned it inside out and stuffed it with eucalyptus leaves. I added a few rusty nails with the leaves. It looked so cool when I unwrapped it. Good enough to be in a fashion magazine I think!
Washed and ironed it is ready for some fun stitching. I inserted another piece of eco-dyed linen at the bottom of the side seams to flared out at the bottom. I boroed a few patches on the front and one on the back. The heart patch (above) is on the back shoulder where the hole was.
It is still a work in progress. I will take it with me on the tour. Something to stitch when I have a spare moment and wear it as well. I hope some designer will spot me wearing it in Tokyo and commission me to make half a dozen more. One can only dream right?
Well, this is it everyone. My last few days left at work and using the Easter weekend for packing. Come Monday, I'm up up and away to meet dear Lis for the first time at Narita airport. We are having a date to explore Tokyo for a day. A must visit is Blue & White Japan.