Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Landskins workshop with India Flint, Day 1.

I'm not alone! It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to be in a room with fifteen others who are equally crazy about fibre and colour. What a gathering of knowledge and inspiration! I'm open to all things new and exciting, quite outside my comfort zone, expecting to learn new skills and experiment.

These bundles are the boiled results of our "Windfall walk". With a strip of undyed silk we wondered out to the beautiful autumn garden of the Fairfield House. The idea was to walk a predetermined distance - I was humming an Alison Krauss song - then stop and pick up some plant material,
wind it with the silk around a stick, walk some more and stop for another discovery. Don't search: the Universe will provide! The parcels got tied with wool or silk yarn before putting into a pot of hot water for an hour or two.

Many people have tried to put me off plant dyeing. The colours won't last! usually being the reason. And I so love the whole rainbow of hues. Could it be achievable through plant dyes alone?

The bright orange came from a lichen.

After the first day's effort I'm enthused. India's style of plant dyeing seems simple and fun. I could do this at home, even with kids around, since there are no chemicals involved. Toxic materials could still be an issue: many plants are poisonous, so it takes a bit of research to be safe.

Consider this. There are nine variables that affect the end result of plant dyeing: Plant used, season of harvest, water, pot, cloth, temperature, time, mordant and method. It certainly would take many lifetimes to master the possibilities available. So - let's get to work!

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