Saturday, December 29, 2012

Another Year Ending! Another Scarf is Cooking!

I have been so busy with working that I haven't had much time for blogging.  The year is ending quickly, and most of my dyeable fresh plant material is disappearing into the cold.  Fortunately, I have been a good boy and stored many windfall treasures against the winter,  This past week we had a tremendous thunderstorm with high winds that blew a lot of Autumn leaves to the ground.  I took the opportunity to gather the Wild Cherry leaves and some Muscadine Grape leaves to dye a new scarf.
On a 14"x72" Crepe de Chine scarf that I had dipped in vinegar, I spread out the leaves (some face up, some face down) on the right half of the scarf.    I added small pieces of steel threads from a steel belted radial tire, recycled tea leaves and coffee grounds then folded the left half over the right.  I slowly rolled the scarf into a sausage shape then tied with cotton twine.  I folded the sausage shape in half and again tied the bundle with cotton twine.
My brother has just given me a beautiful old copper kettle, like a giant tea kettle, and I poured some left over hickory dye and some water into it and placed the sausage bundle into the kettle to cook for an hour.  After cooking the bundle, I left it in the bath for 4 hours then removed it and allowed it to remain for three days before opening it to check on the metals.  I liked what I saw and decided to leave it at this stage.
The copper kettle gave me some beautiful green tones.  The leaf impressions were of various shades of green from dark blue-green to pale grey green.  The Crepe de Chine gave a lovely luminescence to the prints.  Some good impressions remained, and on each end of the scarf a single grape leaf impression stood out with its serrated edges like a heart.
I shook out the leaves and wires, then hung the scarf to dry without rinsing.  The vinegar smell was very strong.  As the scarf dried, some of the greens became more subtle and even.  The areas with the wires looked like veins of minerals inside a rock.  The overall effect was very soothing and made you want to read it like the pages of a book.  I think it was successful.
I have posted a photo of this scarf on the left.  Enjoy.