Monday, November 28, 2011

Loving Autumn's Bounty!

This is a wonderful time of the year for dyers.  There is such a huge collection of things to choose from to make colors and prints with.  On the left is a photograph of 3 silk scarves that were all dyed/printed with Autumn leaves, bits of metal and cooked in an iron pot for an hour.  The left scarf is a combination of wild cherry and maple leaves combined with rectangles of steel mesh used in stucco and plaster work.  It almost looks reptilian.
The middle scarf is all maple leaves.  This scarf barely showed any color or print at all until I dipped it in vinegar after dyeing.  Then the leaf shapes and even some red color came up.  The right scarf is maple and persimmon leaves folded into a long rectangle, then the rectangle was folded into triangles (like folding a flag) then clamped with steel binder clips on all edges before dyeing.   These scarves were all simmered for an hour.  They were placed in Ziplock bags immediately after removing from the pot and allowed to sit for 5 days.  It is best to wait longer, but when using iron or steel metal parts, best to check after 3 days to make sure the reaction is not eating holes in your fabric.  Five days seemed to be the max I would risk, so I took the bundles to a Natural Dye class I was teaching at the Pioneer Florida Museum, and I let the students open the bundles at the very beginning of class to show them where we were headed.  They were thrilled, and I was very pleased with the results.


  1. James, thank you so much for your valuable advices of leaves print. I've just wrapped another piece. Will wait for a few days to unwrap it. This challenge my patience. I hope this time it will turn out pretty.

  2. Terriea, your work is really beautiful, just start another piece or two and let them be working also. It is easier to wait if you have something else going. Waiting is the hardest part, but I'm learning. I cooked a few bundles and can hardly wait to open them, but I promised my son I wouldn't until he got home for Christmas so he could see how they looked before and after.