Exploring new things, places, techniques, materials and so on often begins with “What if…?”
Let me share my recent journey into natural dyeing. It began with our Pomegranate bush that decided to ripen and open all its fruit at the same time. Harvesting a few baskets full:
What to do with it? - Pomegranate jelly which left over two big pots of rinds.
WHAT IF you just add tap water and fiber: Cotton as a sample for plant fibers, silk, and wool as a fiber from an animal. Get it slowly to boil on our stove which heats our atelier in the winter.
WHAT IF you use it a second time? Again without any mordants.
WHAT IF you add another natural dye - Tumeric?
The pomegranate has already been used twice. As you see in the photo below, the cotton on the left looks quite yellow while the silk on the right has more of a "pomegranate" tanned look. The sample pinned sort fin the middle is mohair. The darkest is the 100% pure wool in the background. (No mordants - fabric is still wet, so the color will lighten.)
WHAT IF you get hooked on this magic pot and add lots of old tea bags (from a restaurant)?
Unfortunately the tea bags broke , nice results though: deep rich brown on wool and silk; very light beige on cotton. Everything went into the washing machine and the clear cool water did s pretty good job at cleaning up.
So what's the final result?
"What IF" is a great question to ask yourself. It lead me to discover one dye pot without mordants can lead to a lot of fun. See above from left to right:
1) Silk, cotton, wool with Pomegranate only
2) Add turmeric: silk, cotton, wool and another dye bath with the same mixture for silk and cotton
3) Add tea bags: silk, cotton wool
And today, after these experiments and writing about it, guess what I got in the mail: the book "Wild Colour" by Jenny Dean which several Facebook friends had recommended.