My first attempts were at a workshop run by Rosi Gates, who is one of my fellow Textilers as well as a member of other art groups. She has been exploring natural dyes for a while now and I was able to benefit from her experience at a workshop recently. We used, among other things, eucalyptus leaves on silk to print some lovely effects.
|eucalyptus leaves on silk|
|variety of eucalyptus leaves on silk|
|eucalyptus cinerea - comes out a pinky colour, on silk again|
The next thing I tried as a natural dye was Red Cabbage - easy and cheap to buy at the greengrocer (means going to another shop after the supermarket, but if we don't use them they will eventually close down and give us no option but the supermarket). There is lots of information about dyeing with red cabbage on the internet, such as this one, and I used a quarter for each of my two stainless steel pans (which I bought from local Op Shops, one $5, one $6.50). Chopped up with about 5 litres of water in each, I used in one pan some cotton sheeting, (an Actil 100% cotton from the Op Shop) that had been mordanted in washing soda, and in the other pan a piece that had been mordanted in vinegar. I'll talk more about mordants in another post, but I wanted to show you the difference in colours with the different mordants, because the mordants are different pH's, and therefore take up dyes differently.
|This was my second attempt with red cabbage dye, complete with bits still stuck on the fabric - not strained perfectly. This was mordanted in vinegar. The colour is slightly uneven from sitting in the pan unstirred overnight.|