post equinox…

On the eve of the autumnal equinox, we gathered at JANM to explore plant dyeing. We were fortunate to have a photographer join in as he had a special project in mind and wanted to incorporate some dye techniques. He really captured the community spirit of the class in his photos and we thank him for that!

My personal goal for plant dyeing is to continue to grow and gather materials in my immediate surroundings and have an ongoing range of items using seasonally collected materials. This is a goal borrowed from Yamazaki sensei and family in Japan whom we visit while on the silk study tour. Of course he takes it to a whole new level using his dyes and pigments for his masterful katazome work. We are just beginning our adventures.

Dye materials and mordants locally gathered and grown are regionally specific, each material reflecting the conditions of the soil they are grown in, the seasonal climate challenges, the time of year the materials are harvested, whether they are used fresh or dried for later use.
Of course these days one can order a vast array of dye materials sourced worldwide but I want to learn and push to the limits my knowledge of what I have on hand here- coaxing color from each material and applying mordants, ph differences and temperature changes to shift colors. Learning the lightfast properties of each dye material is an additional challenge.

My beginning colors reflect what I have on hand, pomegranate, persimmon, marigold, mint, senna seed pods, madder, and further experimentations with apricot wood ash (we had to cut down the apricot tree and use the wood for outdoor cooking) and kaffir lime juice as an acidifier. We did have a small pot of cochineal at the workshop using the lime juice. I have a kaffir lime tree and really only use the leaves and a bit of zest for cooking. The juice is just too strong so it’s perfect that it can be used in dyeing. I continue with the indigo (but not from here for now).

Here’s a short video on the prep day we did a week in advance of the workshop:

Writing this post I realize I had a dream last night where I was wandering in a yard somewhere with someone wanting to do natural dyeing from their backyard and I passed by an old rusty metal wind chime hanging on a tree, noting it would make great iron water… dreaming solidifying my thoughts.

6 thoughts on “post equinox…

  1. Mo Crow

    (((Glennis))) these are beautiful photos, Roz Hawker gets a beautiful green from her lime tree in Queensland, she used it for dying the silk thread in her pennant for I dream of a world where love is the answer!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Roz

          Thanks Mo ! Yes my lime grows prolifically some seasons and needs a good prune. I use the pruned leaves to create a dye bath. I have dyed silk thread and silk cloth. The colour can be intensified to a deeper green with the addition of some copper. I have old copper pipe I 8 nclude in the bath. The leaf also gives a very very bright print. Unfortunately we are having such a dry time now there will not be much pruning this season. It is perhaps a Tahitian Lime … though ours has many seeds in the fruit ? Some years we have fruit all year. Great plant !

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Maggie

    So good to have these wonderful pictures of the class and their work with the natural dyes, A new world for you to stretch into and explore. maggie.



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