Posts filed under ‘Natural dyeing’

Apple leaves for dyeing and printing

As the apple tree was losing its last leaves I decided to collect those newly fallen and about to fall for a dyepot. I had planned to try to get a green dye from my deciduous fruit trees but left it a little late and most leaves were fallen and mushy after recent rain. That will have to be an experiment for next autumn (2022 here in the Southern Hemisphere).

Instead I added some of my collection of brown onions skins to bulk up the colour. I ended up with three stocking leg ‘tea’ bags of dye material and cooked these up for an hour, then left to rest overnight. The next morning I removed the ‘tea’ bags and heated up the liquid, added a few lengths of gauzy cotton and silk, some with apple leaves to imprint, to the the pot and gently simmered for an hour. The result was a variety of yellows from bright to mellow.

I then decided to use some pieces of op shop cream blanketing as there appeared to be still dye in the pot. These were tied in bundles some had red & brown onions skins tied inside, others had some untwisted copper electrical wire and gum leaves tied in. One piece was wrapped around a twisted copper pipe, the others were thick enough just to roll up and tie. The pot was heated up, the wool added and very gently cooked for an hour, turned off and left in the pot for two days (I was busy with other activities).

The gauzy materials were very subtle, the wool was quite vibrant-I wonder if the copper acted as mordant to make these intense colours and prints.

The interesting imprint of the copper pipe on the right
Onion skins and gum leaves imprinted
Copper wire and gum leaves

July 21, 2021 at 11:08 am 3 comments

Just one more stitch

I have finally called time on my Teatowel stitching for the India Flint ‘Sailing the Armchair’ exhibition at Fabrik Arts + Heritage, an historic woollen mill in Loebethal, South Australia.

My teatowel was a very old, faded linen with a few holes that was destined to become a cleaning rag. I popped it in a madder dyepot with a few other threads and fabrics to brighten the colour. This has been a slow stitch project over the last 6 months. I added ideas and bibs and bobs as they occurred to me. It has emerged as a story cloth around the central motif of mother earth and the need to nurture our sustaining planet before it is too late. My almost daily beach walks with my dog continued throughout this covid on/off year as did my habit to ‘take three for the sea’, generally being various bits of rubbish, plastic and many, many sharp pieces of broken glass. Several of my beach pick ups are included including a helium balloon with attached string. All of the threads are ecodyed from my own dyepot, Rita Summers kind contribution and Arlee Barr’s lovely threads. It is currently making its way to South Australia.

These very sweet little buttons were picked up somewhere in an Op Shop

January 8, 2021 at 7:24 pm 1 comment

Some beginnings and a finish, maybe!

Many events this year have been cancelled or postponed and many more have sprung up. There are so many virtual and online offerings it can be overwhelming. However, I have chosen a couple, such as India Flint’s ‘In Place, Voyage of the Armchair’ which has been delightful and meditative. I continue to dip in and out of her wonderful offerings when I need a break from working online. I am also working away on a piece for an exhibition with India resulting from this online adventure.

It has been inspiring following textile artists’ blogs during this time. I have been using my Armchair voyage journal to respond to the many ideas and thoughts flowing from so much wonderful inspiration.

Rita from Gone Rustic Studio & Gallery in St Mary’s Tasmania has an exhibition happening in October called ‘Marking Time’. I have started an entry for that based on phases of the moon:

The base is from an indigo dyeing class a few years ago. The moon is beautiful silk velvet natural dyed by Arlee Barr. Just waiting for a selection of blue threads from Wafu Works in Tasmania, hopefully it won’t take too long to arrive, though the post is very erratic at the moment. Yah, Threads have arrived and this piece is now finished (maybe)! It is a little more picturesque than I was going for. Now I am thinking I might need to break down the strong vertical with some short scraps of horizontal red, any thoughts?

Phases of Time 1

Another one I have just signed up to is the Blarney Books and Art Biblio Art Prize. Blarney Books is a Port Fairy institution and the Art prize is where artists create a piece of work in response to a book, this year all Australian authors published in the last 12 months. My book title is picked from a hat and emailed. Still waiting for this one. Covid-19 has taught me patience!

Lucky me – I have received my book title- The Labyrinth by Amanda Lohrey. Now ordered from the bookshop and I will pick up later in the week. Now how to create an interesting labyrinth!

August 31, 2020 at 10:17 pm 2 comments

Some dyeing and stitching

Here we are in another school holidays with a little time to create. I am currently working on finishing a ‘treasure’ for the Challenge with ATASDA. When I finish my treasure I will post to my challenge partner who will make a receptacle to contain it. All the treasures will be part of an exhibition in various states of Australia. ATASDA is an Australia wide group that encourages experimentation with textile art and surface decoration through social days, workshops, various exhibitions and challenges. Due to Covid many of these have been forestalled but in the background much has been happening. The website committee are putting the final touches to a brand new contemporary website, hoping to launch in mid July.

I am also preparing an exhibit for the ATASDA Bi-ennial exhibition at The Calyx, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. The exhibition, Interlude, has been postponed to the first week in November. For the theme I have been dyeing fine cottons and silks (fabrics and threads) to create a bojagi type cloth. The cloth will depict the regeneration of the earth between the five mass extinctions. It is designed to be both a warning to humanity and a source of hope.

Over the lockdown I enrolled in India Flint’s wonderful ISO class, In place :: sailing the armchair around the village well. It is/was a wonderful class that started as 23 days (continued well past that) and continues monthly at the moment. The meditative stitching/actions in this class are so very good for the spirit/soul in these very difficult times. Below is a journal cover I am continuing to stitch of an evening:

A tickle of feathers:

A silken biscornu

Just a little taste of where we sailed in our armchairs. Also in progress as slow cloths are a Wayfarer’s cloak and a cloth for a group exhibition in the new year.

July 5, 2020 at 11:40 am 3 comments

Eucalyptus and onion skins

It is school holidays in our neck of the woods so I have been busy brewing up a few different concoctions and natural dyeing and printing. At the moment I am participating in India Flint’s latest online stitch gathering which has been very grounding given the worldwide pandemic shutdowns.

An old teatowel was suggested to create a journal cover so I decided on one that has been used as a cleaning cloth. Mordanted for 24 hours with soy milk and bundled with eucalyptus prunings discovered on my walk and red onion skins. See the before and after below:

Eucalyptus and onion prints

The eucalyptus prunings were a happy find as I walked past just after the owner had pruned. I soaked them in an aluminum pot with a splash of vinegar for a couple of days. I cooked up some other old eucalyptus leaves and brown onion skins with a couple of bits of metal for the dye bath. I also popped in a few other bundles:

This one is a silk op shop shirt collar which was wrapped around a bit of copper pipe.
Wrapped around a flat piece of metal picked up on a walk.

And then these very subtle prints on some sheeting which had been soda ashed and stored.

Cotton oats bag and sheeting

Such a huge variety from the same pot. They were left overnight to cool in the pot and then I poured the liquid into a jar to save.

You might have noticed the lovely strips of silk under the collar above. I had a hank of sari silk ribbons I had picked up a year or so ago from the TAFTA Geelong Fibre Forum traders. I decided to give it a wash with the trusty eucalyptus wool and delicates liquid soap. OMG the first wash water was putrid, I think they were the dags of the sari silk industry. I washed again using the eucalyptus wash and then rinsed twice. Finally they all had to be ironed. At this stage I was wondering if they really were silk. However as I ironed them dry the silk sheen came back- only took me two hours all up! About 5% of the strips were still marked and stained but most were pretty clean. Below shows the process from a tangled mess to silky strips.

Sari silk ribbons

Now off to make some oak gall soup to do a proper mordant on a heap of cotton and some precious strips of hemp.

April 10, 2020 at 1:32 pm Leave a comment

Shibori Indigo Dyeing

I have had a wonderful weekend in Sydney catching up with ATASDA textile buddies and participating in a shibori indigo dyeing workshop with the fabulously relaxed and knowledgeable Cathy Moon.

Cathy set up 4 different indigo vats and over the weekend taught us multiple processes. My aim for the weekend was to soak up all that info and try the techniques on a variety of different fabrics to compare the results. Some shibori processes work better on different types of fabric so there wasn’t a common fabric that was best for all. Some of the results are below, if you get a chance do go to a workshop with Cathy. I will be trying to attend one of her longer workshops in the near future to do more complex pieces with multiple techniques on the same piece.

Shibori Indigo dyeing 1

Top picture: Crochet and embroidered doilies (all cotton)-dipped in fructose vat, one stitched and some cotton string used for tying.

Bottom: Pole dyeing techniques on different fabrics: bamboo, fine silk, dupion silk and silk broadcloth

Clamping and scrunching

Top picture: clamping with a variety of perspex shapes-cotton and hemp

Bottom: An interesting and quick scrunching technique

Stitched shibori

Top picture: a variety of stitch techniques-left fine silk pre-dyed, right cotton sheeting

Bottom: Stitching- started on the weekend and now finished at home ready for dyeing

I have several other fine silk, linen and cotton wraps which I also used a variety of techniques on. Now just waiting for a free weekend to fire up my indigo vat and some cauldrons of natural dyes!

February 24, 2020 at 1:52 pm Leave a comment

Some slow stitch

I have been housebound the last two weeks following surgery so slow stitch by hand has been very therapeutic. I recently purchased a download version of India Flint’s bagstories self publication and have three bags in process. India has also started a Facebook group for sharing the results which provides lots of inspiration. The first two need finishing details. The first one I made from a remnant of linen and appliqued fragments of my ‘eco-printed’ silks and cottons. I added a strap using a cashmere and wool sample but find it a little long so I am thinking about how to remedy that. The lining is silk dyed/printed using iron water. It will have a closure added, still browsing the ideas on Facebook to decide on that.

Tsunobukuro bag

The second is hand stitched using squares of natural dyed and printed silks and cottons. It needs a closure of some kind and a strap, I will hopefully finish these over the coming days. The squares had some disappointing natural dyed cottons used like paper piecing in quilts so I will also add a full lining to finish and strengthen it, maybe cotton or linen as the outside is all silk. This is a picture of some of the squares in process:

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_mini_b294

little squares bag

The third bag is a very slow stitch one: a boro bag with lots of vintage indigo and sari bits, my own ‘ecoprints’ and I will also add some naturally dyed fabric and threads I purchased from Arlee Barr (be warned these took almost a month to arrive by post-blaming Australia post dis-service for that) once the base fabrics are secured.

Boro bag stitching

As well as these projects on the go and cogitating, I have just finished my contribution to India’s ‘gardens of the heart’ project which will culminate in an exhibition in South Australia early next year and also a publication of the resulting poems. Each participant is allocated line 1,2 or 3 of a short poem to stitch. Here is mine below using whipped chain stitch on natural dyed and printed bridal silk remnant, photographed among the she-oak and grevillea this morning (very dull morning today):

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June 8, 2018 at 1:56 pm Leave a comment

Some natural dyeing and printing results

After my experimentation with some old op shop cottons and linens which had been soy mordanted a while ago, I got some muddy colours and very little print.

The red flowered gum leaves, blossoms and nuts gave a good coloured dye after cooking for an hour and then leaving for 24 hours. I strained the plant material from the water, added some alum to the pot, soaked the cottons in water for an hour and then bundled up. The cottons and a couple of scrap pieces of bridal satin were used with the leaves from the pot, some melaleuca sprigs and some eucalyptus cineria that had been soaked in rainwater. Some of the cooked leaves were dipped in iron water, most of the bundles were tied with silk tape around bamboo sticks, two were bundled around iron rods.

IMG_9273

After reading Irit Dulman’s latest blog post I will try a bit more experimentation this week-thank you Irit for sharing some of your processes, we would love to see you in Australia!

I am thinking now of dyeing my upcycled linen dress in onion skins first and then try the overprint with the leaves. I will do a few more samples and see how they turn out before committing to the dress.

IMG_9275

Onions skins and bark cooking

I will pop a few pieces in the pot tomorrow.

 

October 1, 2017 at 9:13 pm Leave a comment

Rosellas and spring

These blossoms and leaves were collected beneath the red flowering gum tree as a flock of rosellas (or pandemonium of parrots) feasted above. They are very messy eaters with blossom and branches strewn all around.

There are signs of spring everywhere: daffodils, blossoms and new growth, but also the chill of winter still in the air with snow falling not too far away and torrential rain the last few days.

They will be cooked up and rolled in various op shop cottons (with a soy mordant) to see what colour the spring will bring, perhaps a little iron water in a second batch. I have a sprig of dried cineraria from the florist that will be soaked and added to the bundle for comparison. Results will be posted in a week or two.

September 6, 2017 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

Hip Hip Decay

Last weekend I experienced a magical workshop with Suzanne McRae¬†who travelled all the way from Ballarat each day to share her amazing talent. We were encouraged to use her techniques but develop our own characters and the most important thing I learnt was how the ‘less is more’ applies, particularly in this instance.

So this is Professor Priscilla Possum not quite finished yet:

hip-hip-3

 

She is a ringtail possum, which are quite common in our little neck of the woods.

I still have to sew the clothes, add some old buttons, do a little more on the face (a little detail trick Suzanne shared with us) and make a mini leather covered book to place under her arm.

You can see Kerrie’s characterful bird here. Thank you to the Art dolls ladies for sharing this workshop and in particular Jenny for her wonderful organisation.

February 5, 2017 at 11:22 am Leave a comment

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