It has been raining, windy and cold lately. Windy means lots more eucalyptus leaves and branches. Raining means more water to fill the tank (i.e. rainwater for dyeing) and cold means I can stay indoors and let the dye pot simmer away outside on the deck. The downside for a windy day is I can't use my gas burner. So far I have been busy bundling with all sort of leaves I collected on my daily walk. I can't always complete the process in one go due to time constraints, but all in all I did quite a bit in the last two weeks.
In November my craft team and I will put together an exhibition at the Monash Gallery of Art, at Wheelers Hill. We have exhibited there twice already. The exhibition is called Connecting with Nature. The main theme for me is natural dye. The other members of the team will show miniature collections, paintings, hand made books and miscellaneous craft items they have been making.
These bundles were wrapped and ready for the next process that is steaming. Most of the leaves I used were eucalyptus leaves collected from fallen branches. One of the bundles I over wrapped with a dog chain I got from an op-shop. The chain has a coating on it. I left it hanging outside for a few months to make it rusty. This was the first time I used it. Let's see if the rust will transfer onto the fabric.
I soaked leftover eucalyptus leaves in a pot and didn't have time to do anything with them for a few days. After I bundled and couldn't steam them straight away due to the wind. I dropped them in the dye pot and left them there until the weather improved a few days later. The bundles took the dye very nicely.
I steamed them for a couple of hours and I can see the colour seeping through the silk. I patiently waiting for about a week before I opened one of them. I chose the bundle with the chain around it.
I was disappointed to find that the Karajong leaves didn't do anything at all. The chain did give some black marks on the silk.
The yellow patches on the silk were from wattle flowers. The wattle tree only flowers for a short period. You can dry them to use again, but I never seemed to be able to do that yet.
I washed the bundle to fix the colour. When I open bundles I normally wait until the cloth is completely dry before I wash it, but I didn't in this case. There is always something new to experience in natural dyeing.
These are all the bundles I have been dyeing in the last couple of weeks. The tan bundles were from the eucalyptus dye solution as above. The darker bundles were steamed in a red cabbage and purple carrot dye solution. At the bottom of the photo are bundles wrapped over rusty tin cans and copper pipes. There were soaked overnight in red cabbage and purple carrot dye solution and steamed. I will tell you about them in a separate post after I open them. I have good feeling about these, so don't miss it!
I started piecing this cloth in November last year and posted about it here. I haven't been stitching on it all the time. I took it with me to NZ and did a lot of work on it. The colour is getting wild as it gets bigger. I decided to make the strips wider as I go. This piece will be part of the exhibition in November so now I really need to get it finished!
A couple of months ago I was making some coil baskets using indigo fabric. After that I made this tumbler with dyed fabric. I really love stitching coil baskets and could go on forever, but I had to stop and do other things. This basket is also for the exhibition. It will be displayed upside down in a group with other baskets I have already finished.
Here is an update on my double weaving piece. I had a workshop last Saturday and I have been weaving in the evening to get it finished by next Saturday when I will start another project. This piece is going be made into a bag. Double weaving is very challenging and needs 100% concentration because it is easy to get confused with it. I hope to make a table runner for my next project.
That's all for today friends. I hope you are keeping busy and well wherever you are. Thanks for visiting. If you have any questions about the dyeing please feel free to ask.
Until next time
Until next time