Monday, July 30, 2012

I have been experimenting with Pignut hickory (Carya glabra).  I tried the Gesner mordant assessment method, and was quite pleased with the number of different colors or shades of dye that were possible.  After boiling young green Pignut Hickory nuts still in their green hulls for about an hour in a stainless steel pot, I dyed a piece of Tannin mordanted cotton muslin and hung it up to dry.  In the accompanying photo, it is the light tannish piece of fabric to the left. I then took 4 containers and put 1/4 cup of the dye bath into the container and added 4 different mordants; vinegar, alum, soda ash and iron.  The strip of fabric down the center shows the result of dipping tannin mordanted cotton muslin in each mixture in the order listed.  After seeing the results of my experiment, I took 6 cups of dyebath and added the 1/4 cup mixture with iron.  The resulting color is the piece of fabric to the left, a really nice dark grey.  I also took 2 cups of the dyebath and put it in a copper kettle and simmered it first for 20 minutes, then 1 hr., then 2 hrs.  Each time I dipped a piece of paper toweling into the kettle and hung to dry.  The paper strips across the bottom of the photo are the results of the dye on paper.  There is a much more red tone to the brown when the copper kettle as used.  This assessment method is a very worthwhile way to test your dyes for what mordants will do and how to use them to modify colors.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Big Thank You!

I want to extend a big Thank You to the Florida Native Plant Society for having me as their guest speaker last night.  It is a pleasure to present a program when you know every person in the room is interested in what you are saying.  It also helps to have someone listening who understands binomial nomenclature.  It saves a lot of double talking.  You know you are on the right path when there are lots of questions that lead into more information being given.  This group was doubly wonderful because their principles and goals parallel those of the Natural Dyers:  education, conservation, sustainability and regionalism.  Their warm reception just opened up the flood gates, and information flowed that I had forgotten that I knew.  It was funny to find myself answering questions that I had been asking myself.  Thanks again for a great evening.  And thank you also for your kind words about my work.