Sunday, October 16, 2011

Autumn Bounty

It is a wonderful time of the year.  Colors are changing, leaves are falling. There is a chill in the air that urges us to hurry before it is all gone.  I have been gathering acorns, hickory nuts, goldenrod, beautifully colored leaves of Dogwood and Wild Cherry, a few Oak leaves and red maple.
I went out to the river again and found a bounty of bottle caps to use in rusting.  I also found some beautiful red American Creeper Vine leaves.
I discovered there is quite a difference in the color achieved when dyeing with Goldenrod (Solidago) in different stages of maturity.  The young fresh flowers gave me a beautiful brilliant yellow and the older more mature goldenrod after being dried for storage gave a deep gold.  The same dyebath of young goldenrod when left to sit in the pot for 5 days, gave a lovely golden tan on silk that I had twisted and tied in a shibori fashion.  I will post those photos so you can see the difference.
Don't forget to gather sumac and Beautyberries, and there is still time to gather a few sunflowers.


  1. John Keats said, "The poetry of the earth is never dead." That is true, but the time of gathering things of the earth is short. There are a few trees and plants you can still gather green materials from that will yield some wonderful greens to go with your fall colors. Jacaranda, ferns, Smilax vines, Willow (Salix) when used with copper or brass all yield lovely greens. By adding baking soda in small amounts to some flower dye baths you can change the color to a green or bluish green tone. Be careful when doing this, as it can foam violently. I think I might even experiment with cranberries.

  2. Autumn is always a beautiful season with lots of inspiration. Nice reading your posts. The previous one of rust print is so helpful. I'm still new to eco-print & dye, will test on local plants. Pity that I don't know if we have plants such as oak, Dogwood etc. Thanks for your comments on my blog.

    Terrie from Hong Kong

  3. Hello, Terriea. You library may have Tree Identification books available. If you have roses and cammelias available, their flowers will give you color in cold dyebaths. Heat will not give you the bright colors. Many spices will also give you color. Tumeric will give a very strong yellow. There are so many herbs available in the stores that you could spend a lfetime experimenting with them for color. Both hot and cold dyes. Enjoy. Remember, you can take a 4"x6" piece of fabric with a pinch of matieal and try it in a steamer to see what colors you can get. Don't be afraid to experiment and keep good records. Good luck

  4. I have yet to try any dyeing methods, but may begin with rust, taking your advice from a previous post. Thanks for your generous tips!

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Jenclair. You may want to check out Kimberly Baxter Packwood and Pat Vivod's
    commentaries on rusting also. Kimberly is at Prairie Fibers and is just full of information on rusting and many other techniques. Pat is a renowned ruster/dyer Both of them use baking soda in place of salt in the rinse to stop the rusting action. Their work and comments may be found on Facebook in Found Stitched and Dyed.

  6. Thank you James for your valuable info I've tried again with rust on my plant prints. It looks bettr now. I will refer to books about the flower names. Your blog helps great.