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