May 12, 2012

Eco-Dyed In Fujino

Eco dyeing becomes my passion because of my love of nature. When I was on the tour in Fujino I knew I had to try eco dyeing with local plants. I already knew that some plant materials there would dye well. Cedar bark was plentiful from the local timber yard. I also wanted to try cherry blossoms and branches. I managed to save some rusty metal from the house renovation. I took a long piece of silk I got from Ziguzagu to share with the tour members. Some members already knew how to eco-dye, but it was the first time for some of them. I wore my eco-dyed scarf and skirt to get them inspired.   

Here I was on our walk. I gathered some wood to wrap the bundles with. That day we gathered leaves, bark, lichen that had fallen on the ground, and lots of flowers for our dye session later on that day. Photo by Blandina. 

Remember this piece I dyed before the tour? I did it as a gift for Mitsuhide another resident at the farm. Mitsuhide loves roses and is an expert on them. He grows beautiful and healthy roses at the farm. He had been very helpful in getting the place ready for the tour. This was a gift to thank him for his help. 

One of the tour members dyed this piece with Gardenia pods leftover from another dyeing session. The blue spots came from pansies. There was a pot of pansies on the wall next to where we prepared the bundles. Needless to say there weren't many pansies left when we finished dyeing!

I can see this piece got everything we gathered thrown in including steel wool. I must say it looks very cool. I hope whoever owns it is happy with the outcome.

On our walk around the village. You can see Janine and Cynthia holding two large bags full of dye stuff. Not everyone came out for a walk with us. It was a lovely, but cool afternoon. 

Another gorgeous rusty piece. It goes well with the rusty roof of the next door neighbour.  

We got our pieces mixed up after hanging them out to dry. I think these were mine! I over-dyed the piece on the right with indigo. A bit too bright, but it can be used in my sakiori weaving workshop I'm having later on in May. Nothing will go to waste once I start weaving! 

The pink patches came from camellia flowers and the brown bits were from cedar bark. It's good enough to keep I think.  

I have started dyeing again since I got home. The camellia flowers where everywhere in my neighbourhood so I had to make a batch with them. I remembered my first eco-dye I did using camellia flowers. It's like my anniversary of dyeing with them again.

I boiled them for about 40 minutes to get the colour out of the flowers. Then I took the pulp out and steamed the bundles in the dye liquid.

Here are the four bundles I dyed with camellia flowers. I used different leaves in each bundle. Some with eucalyptus leaves and some with grape leaves. I'm being good and will leave them until next weekend before I open them. The weather is cool enough to leave them longer without worry that they will turn mouldy. 

And these are some of the results from the above dyed batch. They turned out so well this time. I opened them this morning. I have lot of plans for these pieces in the near future.  

Eco-dyeing is not for everyone. You either like it or hate it! I love it because I love dyeing, I love plants, I love recycling, and I love the challenge required to get the results. I don't think eco-dyeing is for Japan. From my observation in Japan, Japanese artists like to make everything perfect. Once they get that perfection they go back and create imperfection to get it out of shape to make it unique. Eco-dyeing is unpredictable. You get what nature gives you then you  can create something out of your piece that is totally unique to you. You can never make two the same in eco-dyeing, but why would you want to! I hate mass production so eco-dyeing is for me...

PS: Where are the Bike Babies today? 

Till next time


Nedra said...

You look so happy in your picture! I really have learned a lot about eco-dying from you.

Needled Mom said...

Those eco dyed pieces are just wonderful. I just love reading about your techniques and all of the fun things you use in the process.

deanna7trees said...

all so beautiful to my eyes. i too like the surprise of what each bundle will reveal.

Connie Rose said...

Great post, Nat, thanks. I'm wondering why camelia flowers can take a boil while other flowers cannot and must be frozen to preserve the color. Love your results!

Bev C said...

Hello Nat,

Oh my goodness that colour from the Pansy is so bright,amazing colours in all the pieces.Thanks for sharing your tour pictures.
Happy days to you Nat and have a wonderful Mother's Day.

Jeannie said...

Nat, gorgeous cloth! I wish I had camelia plants here, but they don't do well in the desert. I love the alien face in the one piece. Looking forward to seeing what you create with the cloths. I am new to eco dyeing and still getting beige. As spring unfolds, I am looking forward to experimenting further and I did find purple carrot seeds! Wishing you a beautiful weekend.

Nancy said...

I see faces in the bottom 3! Beautiful dye-stuffs!

ParisMaddy said...

What utter joy! these pieces are all spectacular. I love the randomness and, of course, the element of surprise. The yellow piece is wonderful---I'd say the pansies died a noble death giving up their color in a magical way. Must try more of this.

P.S. You are awesome. Thanks for the pictures and post.

Happy Mother's Day.

Lis said...

Loved the opportunity to eco-dye with you and am now a happy convert! Happy Mothering Sunday.

Els said...

you've worked some miracles again Nat !
Love to see bits of your tour ....

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Wow Nat I love the rusty ones...and the camelia...just gorgeous...I learn something everytime I come here...Hope you had a nice relaxing Mother's Day xo

Julie Fukuda said...

I am wondering how the color holds up with washing over the years.(it reminds me of when my oldest kid fell in the mud and every other kid wore that shirt with spatters for many years ... then "biz" was invented. Grandkids have a white shirt.

Kathie said...

so interesting to see what the dyed fabrics look like after! I am always amazed! looks like so much fun!
love those pink patches in the one above the flowers
what a pretty piece...
and then the ones after with "faces" in them wow!

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