Saturday, August 6, 2011
What Do I Dye With?
Where does the color come from? It's all around you. First let's get some terminology settled. I will use the term natural for things found in their natural state. Flowers, leaves, scrap metal, sticks, bark, mud, etc. I will use the term eco for natural things that we find around us, provided for the most part by Nature, used with the least "processed" methods possible, (i.e.: Solar heating, cooking, composting, rusting, etc.) I am not a purist. There is beauty in everything around us if we only take the time to look, and look closely. If you are a fiber artist, you will revel in the detail that Mother Nature provides us with; color texture, line. On the left I have provided a couple of photos to show you lovely color obtained without synthesized chemicals on simple unbleached muslin and cotton scrim. We have already discussed re-purposing. In the photos you can see a few things with iron added to the dyebath. That iron came from boiling 2 Railroad spikes that I found during a walk along the railroad tracks. I could have laid the spikes directly on the fabric and wet it , then let it rust as another technique. But I was a beginning dyer who was anxious to get the "show on the road" as you must be. I did make a gallon of iron extract from boiling the RR spikes, and still use it in some dyebaths. As you can see, iron can really darken your colors. Don't be afraid to use it though.