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January 7, 2011

The loose lichen is the windfalls  that I gathered yesterday. Lichen takes a  long time to grow and is very sensitive to pollution, therefore I only gather it off the ground after a windstorm. It can be dried and stored in a paper bag.

Samples have been gathered over a period of 25 years and most of them have held their colour well. The hat is lichen dyed wool worn for many years. The book, published in 1977 and written by Judy Waldner McGrath is one of my favorites. The dyeing was done in Canada’s far North. The pictures of both the lichen and dyed samples are excellent.  

When lichen gets wet it soaks up the moisture, expands and becomes a brighter colour. They are fascinating miniature plants.

In “Natural Dyes”, Dominique Cardon writes “-lichens can be found in the tundra of the Arctic, on the stained-glass windows of cathedrals and even on the shells of the giant tortoises of the Galapagos.

Take time to observe them,take only those that are blown down and enjoy their fascinating world.

enjoy their diversity

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 8, 2011 12:29 pm

    this is one of my favorite books, maybe one of my three favorite dye books, the wonderful stories of the
    land fascinate. i read and reread. love seeing your dyepath in notes…orchil and parmelia and fructose…it’s coming back!


    • January 8, 2011 12:42 pm

      the paths we have unknowingly crossed over the years are astonishing. I was delighted to see your sample in Cardon’s Natural Dyes. It,too is one of my favorites.


      • January 9, 2011 8:24 am

        yes! that sample got into her hands in some unknown way, but i, too, was surprised to see it in her book. eva blogging at tinctory found it and made the connection for me!


  2. June 1, 2011 4:39 pm

    I just received a copy of McGrath’s book as a gift and was blown away by the clarity and explanations from the 70’s. Can’t wait to try some of the recipes!


  3. Marion permalink
    May 22, 2014 2:40 pm

    Jean….I’ve just been out where a huge maple was cut down and filled a 5 gallon pail with the green lichen pictured above (on the log). Would you like me to bring you some?


    • May 22, 2014 2:50 pm

      Marion – store it in a paper bag, it will keep for a very long time. I would love some but you should keep it and I’ll come up for a dye day. When the tree is down and most likely will become firewood you can take off the flat, crusty lichen as well.


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