ECODYE adventures

I know this is probably a little old hat, but it’s fairly new for me! Last year, about a year ago, I did a workshop on Eco dyeing paper, using plant dye baths and a variety of domestic and native foliage, and the results were rather thrilling. But the process seemed quite involved, and one needs to be very well organised before one can even begin! Besides I don’t have much in my garden and the bush is miles away from where I live….. And so it all seemed a great deal of effort for a few small bits of paper – admittedly, very attractive paper, and fun to make, no mistakes about that part of it! See my efforts here, where you can read about it.

Today though, our group (Reddy Arts Textile Group) got together and attended another of these workshops, but I sneaked along some fabric to try out, and see how it would turn out!  Everyone agreed it was a great workshop, and we all learned from it.

First I concertina’d my strip of silk, and inserted a layer of silk between each piece of paper and the plant matter…. here is the result! The dye bath was Mexican tarragon with an alum and cream of tartar mordant….

Ecodyed silk 160202
Eco dye Silk, with brown onion skins and a variety of foliage.

Next, I followed the same process with a piece of cotton, and this time we were using onion skins and veges – beetroot, orange and purple carrot rings, celery, potato… the dye bath was red cabbage, the mordant aluminium potassium sulphate and copper sulphate… and here is the result of that. Softer colours overall on the cotton, and a mix of red and brown onion skins alternated on layers.

Eco dye on cotton160202
Top to bottom: Row 1: Eco dye with dry Eucalypt leaves, Row2: yellow carrot ring,  purple carrot ring, celery slice, beetroot wedge, Row 3: green elderberries and a mishmash! Row 4: beetroot wedge, purple carrot ring, potato (heart), yellow carrot semi circles.

Brenda Wood left out the paper with her experiments with the silk and cotton, and this resulted in deeper colours.  Keep an eye out for an article on Brenda’s blog Addicted to Fabric .

I think this is worth further exploration; I’m sure the rest of the group agree! It was such a fun day! Thanks, Judy Kennedy!!


Eco Dyeing paper

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to drive out to the country – Blackbutt way – and participate in a most informative and well organised workshop in the craft of eco dyeing of papers. This class was an introduction to the basics for raw beginners, and was so clearly set out that all the participants came away with quite a bit of knowledge and some wonderful samples and documentation of what we had done during the day. We are undoubtedly keen to experiment further and perhaps carry it over into exploring eco dyeing of fabrics. I have an India Flint book ( Eco Colour) which is very comprehensive and tells us what we need to know about dyeing fabrics using natural plant matter; however a hands on class such as the one we did, which was so informative and practical in a short space of time was a wonderful way to learn some of the ways to proceed. The class was not overwhelming, had just the right amount of content, and our tutor patiently walked us through step by step, followed by a sharing of many leaves, flowers and berries from which we could choose our own selections to create individual papers with amazing effects. Whilst our samples were small (as we had to build 4 separate “tile sandwiches” in order to dye our papers and then later, to unpack them and discover the wonderful leaf and flower imprints and colours produced) they were perfect for sample purposes to keep as reference pieces, along with the notes we made on prepared sheets. These will help us achieve the results we want in the future. They are so delicious though, I want to use mine in some projects!! so I have photographed all my papers as a record, and thus wik be able to use the real ones!!

We had a ball! The class was held by Judy Kennedy at Ros Shekelton’s quilting studio at Benarkin; contact Ros on facebook or