Friday, April 19, 2013

Out of pots and jars

There are now some more "results" to report. Nothing spectacular is happening, actually.
But that is also part of the journey. Exploration does not always result in wonderful outcomes, or what you were hoping for. I am going to enjoy the journey anyway.

Back in mid-March, I put up another jar, filled this time with little branches of a plant called "Island Ficus" locally. It's leaves are round, thick and leathery. The sap is said to burn your skin, so I was careful when handling it. I think this plant looks somewhat related to the Eucalyptus that India Flint uses for so many of her wonderful projects.

I wrapped some of the branches in each of my four types of fabrics, cotton, hemp, silk and linen and stuck them all in a large jar, to let sit for a month on the porch.

So, now we wait for a while again.......


Meanwhile, I did another boil. This time it was with red beet peels, leaves and juice. I think I let the juice sit a bit too long before I used it for dyeing because the results were pretty disappointing - mostly brownish colors. I added vinegar to the water at the time of boiling, in order to try a version of co-mordanting, where you do the dyeing and the mordanting at the same time.

This is a picture of all my little samples as of a week or so ago. Top row is the initial sun dyed pieces - the first ones I did.
Middle row is the ones boiled with the red beet peels etc. Not much to brag about.
On the bottom row you see the pieces from the sorrell boil. None of these pieces have been washed yet. Another step in the process.


Finally, I have opened the solar bundle that has been sitting out on a rock in the garden since early March, I believe. The results are not spectacular, but somehow I see them as encouraging.

This is what the bundle looked like when I unwrapped it:

The fabric piece, which is a part of the old linen table cloth that I am using, is a wonderful piece of fabric. It did absorb some interesting imprints of the leaves and the seed pods.

Here is a close-up:

To me, this is encouraging. There are definite marks, and the marks are interesting, even beautiful. They just need to be stronger, in my opinion. This is something to work on.
Maybe the bundles need to be wetter, sit longer, be pre-mordanted, have a different fiber...
There are so many variables. I am getting the sense that silk, in general absorbs all the different dyes the best.

Soon I will have all the samples that I have time to make this year. I will then mordant them and then I will be able to compare them to each other and hopefully find some interesting results that will be worth building on for next season.

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