The eco dyed batch I did with my cast iron pot posted here a few weeks back turned out very well. I didn't open them for ages because I was busy with other things and totally forgot about them. When I finally opened them I was surprised at the result. I've also been playing a little bit with indigo vat this week as well. The vat is almost exhausted now and I don't want to add anymore indigo to it at this stage as we are mixing a new vat for the workshop in a couple of weeks. So here are some photos to share with you.
A plant suddenly appears outside the laundry door. It has large heart shaped leaves. I have no idea what it is. First thing that came to my mind was, will it dye? I wrapped a few leaves up in silk and steamed them in the eucalyptus dye bath with the rest of the bundles in the cast iron pot. When I opened the bundle I found imprints of the leaves on the silk. It was quite a surprising result!
Two pieces of silk dyed with eucalyptus leaves (on the left). Some leaves were green and some had dried. The effect from the cast iron pot created those dark lines around the shape of the leaves. Quite amazing to see the result from these batches. The piece on the right was from the same batch using dried oak leaves. I love using oak for dyeing. There are a few trees on the campus where I work. I only collect windfall leaves for dyeing.
You must be sick of me talking about indigo by now. The last day of summer was the end of February so soon indigo growing season will be over and I guessed dyeing with indigo will be over too. I dyed a piece of solid cotton fabric, two Shibori samplers and a tote bag. The old vat was still active, but I don't think it will last much longer. I hope my indigo plants will give me some seeds for next year.
In the last couple of weeks I got inspired while researching about the indigo dyeing process. I came across some blogs here and here on natural dyeing. I have been eco-dyeing for at least two years and have yards of dyed fabric stocked up. I thought I would try dyeing block colour or solid colour from plant materials. My first try was with oak leaves and acorns that had been soaked for at least six months. I boiled the plant materials and water for an hour. Once it cooled I strained off the liquid and returned it to boiling with pre mordant cotton, silk and threads. I boiled it for about 30 minutes and left it to cool overnight. The next day I rinsed it in cold water until water ran clear.
Another batch of natural dyeing using dahlia flowers from my colleague's garden. Dahlia flowers give a rich mustard colour. I used the same process I did with the oak dyed. The fabric was pre mordant with alum before I added it to the dye bath. I can see so much potential in natural dyeing with plants I previously used for eco-dyeing. I of course will always look out for plants I haven't tried before.
Dyeing has given me a lot of fun and enjoyment. It makes my daily walks more interesting. On top of that I have acquired more knowledge on plants that are suitable for dyeing. I ended up with load of dyed fabric as the result of my dyeing so I'm planning to open an Etsy shop to sell it. It's a long term plan at the moment, but it will finally happen...!
Until next time