Who’d Have Thought….

Don’t you just love a surprise ?

We have recently had a spell of heavy rain, just as the dark iris were in full swing.

Unknown allotment

They ended up getting soggier by the day and dripping with dark juice.

I have recently been reading ‘Eco Colour by India Flint ‘. It’s a fascinating book, India has been using native plants from around her Australian countryside to explore the process of natural dye stuffs with some amazing results.

eco book

So I was wondering, as you do, what could I do with all this lovely looking dye. I’d already had a go at cold bundling various types of plant stuff into pre-mordanted damp fabric and had a good reaction. This process meant wrapping and twisting layers of damp fabric and plant material together then tying it up tight. Water was sprayed on to it  regularly to keep it moist. After leaving for a few days it was unwrapped and dried away from sunlight. The picture doesn’t really do the colour justice as they are more intense than this.

plant dye samples

These were all done on natural fabrics, cotton, silk and muslin. But the lure of these soggy iris blooms was too much. After collecting and leaving said soggyness in a Kilner jar for a few days I ended up with a jar of what looked like brown beer brewing, rain water was added to this and all went into a large old disused jam pan, I was then able to dye a bigger load, again all natural fabrics, pre mordanted in Alum solution. Well imagine my surprise when the fabric hit the liquid it turned all shades of blue. I kept all this together in the shady part of my greenhouse under the staging for about a week, just about all the liquid had soaked in and evaporated to leave lots of lovely staining and dark marks where some of the soggy blooms had been laying.

I’m thinking of using the fabric to cover some books I have in mind to make. So now I’m looking at all other plants to see if they have any potential for the same process…watch this space. Sue

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11 Comments

Filed under Eco Colour India Flint, Eco plant Dying

11 responses to “Who’d Have Thought….

  1. That is a beautiful blue. You would never have guessed to get such a brilliant colour from Iris (or rather I wouldn’t). I am growing woad this year but I would really like to extract the pigment to make paint. The photograph of the wer Iris is beautiful too. Amelia

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    • Woad…..now that’s something else. Never thought of that, how are you going to extract the colour ?

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      • With great difficulty it seems. I got the seeds first, then looked up the extraction procedures on the internet. I planted 3 seeds in the autumn and they have already flowered and I am letting them set seed as the leaves are supposed to be collected in the summer before flowering. My second sowing is not looking promising so it might need to be started again for next year 😦

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  2. Goodnes, how enterprising. What a lovely colour.

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  3. Wonderful! Your talents always amaze me. And it looks such fun!

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  4. What an exciting project – my younger sister has done a lot of experimenting with natural dyes and was very partial to onion skins!

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    • I’m fascinated by colour..as in the over packed garden, but it governs practically everything I do… I see some bit of metal on the street and I will pick it up…..you never know how useful it might be, it could bring out a different colour in a piece of fabric…. 😉

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