My natural dyeing experiments this month are about making ecobundles. The bundled plant material prints coloured marks on contact with the fabric but does not deliver an overall colour. I see how one plant (for example, the purple sandcherry/ Prunus cistena) delivers its colour and form onto different fabrics, pre-dyed or not, and treated with tannin and alum as mordants and modifiers like iron, ammonia, baking soda, washing soda or copper to shift colours.
I am using a small number of plants available now in my garden and working with them in a rather restricted fashion in various combinations to see how much variety I can obtain. All the eco textiles shown were bundled and steamed for one hour. In some cases the dye from one bundle attached itself to another; for example, the threadleaf coreopsis dye leaked onto the purple sandcherry bundle and gave a lovely orange patch- a perfect colour complement to the blues in that bundle.
For more images of dye plants, see my Dye Plant page.
Eco textile 1
Below are purple sandcherry prints on Habtai silk, pre- dyed yellow in apple bark. A deeper yellow colour developed after ammonia was added to an already-yellow apple bark dye bath. The purple sandcherry leaves (plus twigs and stalks) gave a range of purple-blues and tad of green here and there:
This dyed textile is a fragment of vintage silk and comes from the lining of a vintage kimono. I have left some of the silk thread from the hand stitching in place. Woven motifs in the silks in Japanese kimonos were often hand painted.
Eco textile 2
Purple sandcherry leaves on beige silk noil: here the prints show up in darker blues and greens with streaks of yellow.
Detail of the eco print with purple sandcherry leaves
…see those orange splotches leaked from the coreopsis bundle!
Eco textile 3
The vivid orange is from Coreopsis verticillata, threadleaf coreopsis. A white silk fragment (mordanted in alum only, pre-scoured with soda ash) printed in spectacular rust-oranges- and reached over to colour the sandcherry eco bundle, too.
Eco textile 4
Purple sandcherry leaf looks quite blue on white habotai silk, and a tad of anthemis tinctoria to make yellow here and there.
Eco textile 5
Silk noil, rust printed and flour-paste resist printed (with purple acrylic paint to give a crackle effect); then eco bundled with coral-pink geranium flowers(pelargonium house plant!) and rose-leaves; mordanted with alum; pre-scoured with soda ash (washing soda). The geranium flowers printed a deep purple blue grey; the rose leaves, kkaki.
Eco textile 6
This eco printed textile is a vintage linen kitchen-refectory cloth from a local monastery. It is darned in white thread and embroidered in one corner with motif in red cross stitch, an inventory control mark. Many of these utilitarian linens were handwoven by the nuns in other parts of the world and distributed to monasteries in their network. Even a humble dishtowel was treated with great care.
I have printed this linen with rose leaves as a connection to the history of prayer often said with rosaries by the nuns in the monastery.