Monday, June 23, 2014

Natural Dyeing in the Garden

The Huntington Library & Gardens held their Fiber Arts Day on midsummer's day, and several local guilds including mine (Southern California Handweavers) were represented by various members demonstrating spinning, weaving and dyeing.  I was in the dyeing camp.  The Garden, of course, wanted us to feature plant dyes.

Here are all the colors I got, from just four dye pots.  From top to bottom the rows are: madder root, osage orange wood chips, cutch resin, and logwood dust.  Each column is a different premordant on white wool: left to right are alum, iron and copper mordants.  Because I used a premordant method, I was able to simmer the differently-mordanted skeins in the pot simultaneously, and get different colors.

It was quite a pleasant way to spend a lovely Saturday, with the weather not too hot or cool, an ideal spot with shade, and visitors to the garden strolling by all day interested in what we were doing.

This was my view over my dye pot.  I took this one with my camera phone, which is apparently not a very good one and the image is saturated, but you can get an idea of the herb garden where we were working.  The building in the background is the Tea Room where you can have Tea (the meal) if you make a reservation.

And here's a picture my fellow guild member took of me over the dye pot.  What's the saying, "I want to dye happy"?

I saved the liquid in gallon jugs when we were done.  The logwood came out such a dark blue-black with both the iron and copper that I want to try doing an exhaust bath or series of baths, to see if they are as blue as they look.

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