Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Playing with Natural Dyes - Part 1

The fall colors are winding down....... the colors have been so beautiful, I've been in a state of eyegasm for weeks....ahhhhhhhhhhh!

I wanted to capture some of the beauty, so I've been experimenting with dyeing
fabric and transferring color to fabric directly from the leaves. 

Today, I'm sharing some of the dyeing results with you.

Do you see the Oak leaves? 
I started out with Oak leaves, because I know that acorns have tannin and so I figured that the leaves would have some as well......... they transferred pretty well. 
I like the dark impressions from the outer layer of dye. I wrapped the cloth around sticks with the leaves sandwiched in the middle, and then dunked them into a crock pot that I have specifically for crafts. (Never use your crafts appliances for making foods, some of the chemistry may linger and be unhealthy) I'm going to look for some sticks of larger dimension to get more of the dark impressions throughout the cloth, although that will mean dyeing less fabric at a time. 
I've been letting them steep in the hot liquid for 1-2 days at a time, occasionally topping off the water level.

The fabric picks up somewhat different impressions on one side than the other, depending on the side of the leaf touching the fabric and how it's exposed to the dye solution.
The photo underneath is the reverse side of the photo above.

Here's one done on denim. This was a pre-mordanted fabric and picked up the leaf color well. 
I tried mordanted and non-mordanted pieces, but not of the same fabrics....... so much for the scientific approach! 
I'll have to try that out again with another batch. I'm so impatient to see them, I've been a bit resistant to slowing down and pre-mordanting them. Most of the white fabric is from an old comforter that I'm recycling. I figure it's  a bleached cotton and fairly receptive to coloring, but I should try some mordanted just to see if there's a difference.

Another front and back piece.....

The yellow was where the fabric was closest to the branch, so most likely the coloring is coming  from the branch itself. This is a tree in the back yard I haven't id'd yet. Have to ask the landlord if she knows what it is or id it.

This is a cotton gauze that was mordanted. The color mainly picked up just around the leaves.

A couple more pieces... I experimented with different materials to bind the fabric.... twine.... some old rusty wire. Rust is wonderful for dyeing.

The reverse of the above piece.......

I'm having so much fun with this that I'm trying out other leaves, so more photos in a following post. I've also collected a big bag of leaves, so that I can keep going even after the falling leaves are done. 

The bf is super-excited to have bags of leaves in the garage- hahaha

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This does look like fun! And I am loving the results.