Dye Happy with Natural Dyeing

I recently spent a very fun weekend in nearby Jamberoo trying some natural dyeing techniques with Alice Springs based artist Deb Clarke.

This introduction to natural dyeing techniques covered the basics.  On day one we learned about plants, fabrics, mordants and dyeing processes including boiling, steaming and some shibori techniques and we made our first silk scarf.

For my scarf I used red and brown onion skins encased in the silk and then twisted and wrapped around a rusty bolt.  The resulting bundle was then heated in a dye bath of purple carrot!   

Here is the bundle and the resulting scarf ...

Deb had loads of samples and examples of different techniques/dyes and mordants ... so much to take in ....  very amazing and fascinating! 

On the second day we worked with Eucalyptus leaves - a very special plant in the world of dyeing and readily on tap here!   We were introduced to a wonderful resource developed by artist Sally Blake, who has tested a large range of Eucalyptus species for their dye potential.

Here is a link to her website  https://sallyblake.com/eucalyptus-dyes-1/ 

I chose to work with a fine wool scarf and a  range of Eucalyptus leaves of different sizes and shapes for the direct print.  The leaves were arranged on the scarf and then covered with some cotton sheeting soaked in iron sulphate, then wrapped and tied firmly around some plastic piping.  The resulting bundle was then steamed.

The leaves, the bundle and the amazing result ...

This workshop demonstrated an inspiring range of opportunities offered by natural dyeing techniques and it was so much fun!  I will definitely be exploring these techniques and contemplating how I might incorporate them into my work. 

Have you tried your hand at natural dyeing and printing ? and how have you used the results in your work?

Thanks for reading .....CC