I have been called on saying all kinds of weird things lately. Like, “I couldn’t sleep last night because I kept thinking about ways of dyeing.” And “You go ahead, I want to stay home and dye.”
I really do have dyeing on the brain, and it is so much about new life! I take Marigolds or Eucalyptus or onion skins or walnut husks that would have ended up turning into compost and I am able to keep them forever in the colors that they create on my shirts, or tablecloths or silk scarfs. These colors are so different than those created synthetically. In natural light, these colors move. They are so beautiful! The dyed items even retain some of the smell of the plants. It is hard to capture all of this in pictures. But I’ll try.
This whole enterprise started with a tablecloth for our good friends, Persephone and Chopper. I’ve mentioned them on this blog – she is the amazing health consultant who has led us through cleanses; he came down here with her one Thanksgiving and helped to kill the ducks we ate for dinner despite having been a vegetarian for a long time.They got married last weekend. When I heard about the wedding, I knew that I wanted to give them a tablecloth dyed with colors from the farm. Thus, this obsession was born. Here is the tablecloth, dyed with marigolds. The grid-like pattern is due to a Japanese shibori folding technique I used before dying it. The vegetables are all stamped with paint. I made the stamps. It was a rainy day when I finished it so I don’t have a great picture of the whole thing.
To add to the seasonal/nature theme, I cut leaf and flower shapes out of linen and cotton fabric I’d dyed a few weeks ago and Elizabeth sewed these pieces around the edges of the tablecloth. This flower was dyed with Eucalyptus, which makes a beautiful reddish color when you use fresh leaves. When I made the dye with dried leaves the color was more brownish.
This is what the tablecloth looked like when I had it folded up, after pulling it out of the Marigold dye bath. I wanted the CD shape to show up somewhere, subtle-y, in honor of their love of music. Their reception was truly the best dance party ever!
Below, I’ve used a different shibori technique and clamped on tin can lids and an old metal screen (chemical reactions occur from different metals – India Flint does this so well). Here is what it looked like in the dye bath -
And here is a detail of the result. I love this grungy look.
With leftover dye materials (here, onion, marigold and Eucalyptus leaves) I imprinted bits of color and hints of the leaves shapes, on another piece of material that was folded up and then solar dyed. Below is one I did using some of the fallen fall leaves too. A detail of it before I folded it:
The resulting table cloth.
A picture of different fabrics dyed with Eucalyptus: Probably way more information on dyeing than you were seeking on a farm blog. But isn’t it cool? I will get back to the edible properties of Nicolas’ beautiful crops, soon.