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colour from the garden

July 20, 2022

around the world weather patterns are experiencing dramatic changes

I’ve been spending a good part of each day in the garden

talking to the birds and butterflies the flowers and the weeds

which led to experimenting with colours from nature

contact printing (or eco-dyeing) on a cotton napkin scoured and mordanted with alum

I always take a picture of the plant materials because I’ll never remember what was used

Japanese maple leaves and the little seed pods – lupin leaves – onion skins and lichen (because I know they work)

the rod is an old, rusty iron spike wrapped with the bark peeled off a new walnut tree branch – both can act as another mordant

rolled up and tied tightly, steamed for approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours and then left patiently untouched for a week

it is always a surprise – the maple leaves gave the pink/purple

perhaps the lupin gave the greeny-yellow – will have to do some experimenting

that is what makes this process fun

so then I tried a light weight piece of cotton

this time using

more lupin and maple leaves – St. John’s Wort flowers – lady’s mantle (alchemilla mollis)

 the roots from lady’s bedstraw  (galium verum) and blossoms from dark purple hollyhock

the bedstraw roots are a tradition red dye, they are almost thread like, tedious to dig and dry and I’m not sure they will work as a contact dye

shown on the first napkin, steamed and waiting impatiently

in these troubled times the garden is my escape

take care out there and stay cool



8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2022 3:43 pm

    I was sure the onion skins would give the strongest colour, so interesting to learn it was the maple leaves! How stable is the colour long term?


  2. Going Batty in Wales permalink
    July 21, 2022 8:13 am

    The garden is my safe space too. I love your cloths.


    • July 21, 2022 10:28 am

      Sue – —just to be out in the fresh air with the sun on my back while I kneel in the dirt pulling weeds – it is a little piece of heaven.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Going Batty in Wales permalink
        July 22, 2022 2:35 am

        Lucjkily there will always be more weeds to pull!


      • July 22, 2022 12:38 pm

        Sue – never fear! Of course what some folks call weeds anothers call flowers.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. July 21, 2022 12:58 am

    Looks Good and such fun.


    • July 21, 2022 10:30 am

      Cathy – it is all a bit hit and miss with a surprise at the end. Sometimes I need to give up control.


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