This is my third post about the colours obtainable from the Tall Bearded Iris (Iris hybrida, I think). Photo below:
I prepared two pieces of linen: one soaked overnight in alum and water, and one without alum. Green colouring occurs with alum while blue occurs without alum. I had enough frozen iris to apply juice three times to each linen clothlet. As each layer of pigment was applied, the colours became steadily deeper.
The blue stayed true blue on linen without alum as mordant, but it also separated out into purples and greener, turquoisey blues:
The alum cloth looked turquoise for quite a while between iris juice applications:
The next to last application of iris juice created these colours: the alum cloth (right) is still in the tirquoise green range.
After the final application of iris juice: Even though the photo colours are somewhat “off” , we see a change to much deeper greens in the left-hand clothlet and a shift to greyer blues on the right (not really purple as shown.)
A conservator friend will be giving a class in July on medieval pigments especially the use of ochres, and I plan to attend. She has asked me to prepare some iris clothlets for the class, so I will not have the results of this iris dye project until after the class on July 6. I am keeping the clothlets until then without using them for pigments to paint with.
Meantime I have tried some other ways to obtain colours from iris.First, the greens:
Iris ink combined with gum tragacanth.
The ink was prepared by simmering fresh iris blooms in alum water in a crock pot until the liquid reduced by way over half. Then I mixed half ink and half gum trag to make a green glaze. I left most of the rest of the ink as a straight liquid.
The ink, as is.
Iris Surprise Sludge from cooking up all the irises previously used in my steamed bundles (previous posts) and experimental solar dye jars.
The spent irises had an amazing amount of colour left in them. These blooms behaved quite differently from the fresh ones. They took a long time to colour up in the crock pot, several hours. After sitting overnight to cool, greenish sludge formed at the bottom of the pot with some greenish liquid separated on top. I poured off the liquid and put the sludge in a jar in the fridge.
Here is what the colours looked like on cotton and watercolour paper: the paper colours captured here in this photo are too yellow to be true. They resemble the colours on cotton in fact.
And last note:Iris turquoise greens can dye synthetics. My Carpal Tunnel cuff is well stained ..we will see in day or two how fugitive it that dye on polyester!
Next time: more iris colour notes and some notes on dyeing with earth ochres. And if you read Fiber Art Magazine, this month will have my article about some eco dye artists who are taking their printing and dyeing processes to the next level.
A quick update on this post: Here is the info for anyone in the Ottawa region or elsewhere interested in taking a class from Genevieve Samson, conservator at the National Archives of Canada on the palette of Renaissance artists. This is the class for which I have prepared the iris pigment clothlets reported on on my recent posts.