Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Natural Dyeing

In these lazy days of summer (boy is it hot and humid here in Abu Dhabi!) it is fun to kick back and play.  I have done a lot of fabric dyeing using Procion dyes but I have been wanting to experiment using natural dyes and see what results I could get.  While I was in Michigan, I found this wonderful book by Sasha Duerr, The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes in which she using all kinds of natural things in your kitchen to dye both plant and animal fibers.
My first experiment was with Turmeric Powder. As a mordant or fixative to bind the dye to the fabric, I first boiled the fabric in an aluminum pot, which is one of the easiest mordant methods. I used cotton, silk, and scrim or you may know it as cheesecloth. The silk is so vibrant while the color of the cotton is much more subtle. Three very different shades depending on the type of fabric used.
My next experiment was with Blackberries. Yum! The great thing about dyeing with natural ingredients is you get to eat your way through your dye process. Lovely soft, dusty color on the silk.  Very vintage looking.
I also made a stronger mixture of blackberries and dyed these white wooden prayer beads that I purchased on my India trip. The wood really absorbed the color.

I am looking forward to trying some other natural dye materials such as red cabbage, mint, onion skins, and hibiscus tea, just to name a few.  What fun and inspiring fabric to use in projects. 


Notjustnat said...

Hey Cynthia, way to go with natural dye! I'm totally addicted to it. I'm seem to be dyeing something everyday. I found silk is taking the natural dyes better than cotton. Have fun -

Anonymous said...

hello Cynthia , I purchased your book , quilts from paradice , a few months ago and fell in love , my mother tried to take it , I said NO. where do you exhibit your work in abu dhabi ? I am a resident here also ,
another question where do you get dyes and fabric here ? , I tried green branch , in Electra st., they don't stock procion ,I guess I have to search in Dubai or order on the internet