I recently had the bright idea of doing more natural dyeing, having discovered, tucked in a cupboard, a two metre piece of silk habotai and one metre of silk ponga 5 (basically two different grades of silk, the former slightly heavier than the latter). Since I am currently madly into interior decorating, I got it into my head that I was going to dye the silk with natural dyes and then use them to make wall flags. Here are the results, having used two different dyes I have not mucked around with yet!
The original plan was to have three pieces of silk, dyed golden brown with oak bark, dark brown with walnut hulls and red with brazilwood. Alas, this brilliant plan did not work out. The walnut husks yielded almost exactly the same colour as the oak bark, which simply would not do at all, so I dug out the trusty logwood chips and boiled up another dye bath. Unfortunately I only had a few fresh logwood chips – the rest were spent and didn’t have much colour left in them, so I tossed in the remaining brazilwood dye bath as well. The result is a gorgeous twilight purple, with distinct golden tones in places. The plan for this particular piece is to make a wall flag with black and silver trees in, with a silver crescent moon. More pictures of this as I get started with it!
I tend to keep wood chips used for dyeing and dry them out – they may not yield quite the same intensity as colour as previously, but its still worth hanging on to them as they can yield some very pretty, lighter shades. Unfortunately this only really applies to dried barks – dried herbs only have a single use to them, really. But hey, the compost heap still benefits from them when all is said and done! I soaked my dyestuffs overnight this time in a little warm water, which I think helped them yield a better dye, so I’ll certainly be doing this again next time. Mordanting the silk was good fun as there was a comparatively large amount to do this time, however as the silk seems to have dyed fairly evenly it all worked out in the end.
I finished the first of the wall hangings yesterday – this one coloured golden brown with oak bark, then stencilled with rambling roses using copper and silver silk gutta paint outliner. This was pretty labour intensive, but certainly seemed to work out fairly well!
I basically stencilled the roses on using the copper paint, and then used the silver to fill in the gaps once the copper had dryed. Once the whole thing was finished, I used a crescent moon pattern that I made up the previous evening, and used it to paint a silver crescent moon full of silver and copper spirals onto the silk – the pictures don’t show it that well, unfortunately, but it is a little less subtle than it appears in the pictures! I’m contemplating weighting the bottom with a few beads to get it to hang better, and it definitely needs a more rigid pole to hang from, so I’ll have to pick up a cane or something like that. Willow twigs bound with copper wire might be very pretty but it is too soft!