Bev, Nola and Tricia have all been dyeing with plant materials.
For this one, Bev used a bobby pin to poke fabric through the holes of beads, and dyed it with leaves from the gum tree in her parents’ garden.
The next two cloths were dyed with the same gum leaves, but quite a lot of copper sulphate was added.
Tricia and Nola have been dyeing wool etamine and silk scarves. Their first pot was wattle flowers from Acacia longifolia, Sydney Golden Wattle. The flowers were stripped from the leaves and only the mature flowers were used. They hoped that doing this would result in a clearer yellow than they’d previously achieved with wattle flowers.This silk scarf of Nola's was folded and clamped with L-shaped wooden blocks. This is the colour that was produced by the wattle. It’s not quite beige but it’s definitely on the dull side of yellow.
However, wool yarn gave a much more interesting colour.
The second pot consisted of “assorted gum leaves” from Harris Markets. These were grey rounded leaves that they thought might be E. cinerea, suggesting an orange or red dye bath might result. The pot was boiled for an hour and a half and alum was added, with a further 1/2 hour boiling. The dye bath began as yellow and the mordant was added when it turned orange.
This silk scarf was folded lengthwise in four, and then as a concertina to match a large diamond block. Smaller diamond blocks were clamped on, before being dyed in the gum leaves pot.
This wool etamine length had seven rows of small beads tied into each end in an offset pattern, intended to yield diamond-patterned dots, and was dyed in the cinerea pot.This is how the wool yarn dyed in the gum leaves.
The third pot was made with shavings of Samoan hardwood, from Nola’s husband’s workshop. They were left to steep in water for several days before being boiled. No mordant was added, because the bath was so dark and it seemed likely to contain a high level of tannin.
This is the same 2-ply white wool yarn as was used previously. In this bath, it’s a deep chocolate brown.
This silk scarf was originally dyed pale yellow with Helichrysum petiolare. It was wrapped around two large washers and dyed in the wattle bath but it didn’t seem to be very successful, so it was placed in the Samoan hardwood pot while it was still wet.
Tricia’s first one was wool etamine, folded in a complicated design and clamped with blocks, and dyed in the gum leaf bath.
This silk scarf was folded lengthwise and clamped with L-shaped blocks. It was dyed with the Samoan hardwood.
This one had cinerea leaves clamped inside the folds and was dyed in the Samoan hardwood bath.
This scarf was dyed twice. First, it was folded in four lengthwise and then in 60-degree triangles, and dyed in the Samoan hardwood bath. Once it was dry, it was refolded into three lengthwise and again at 60-degrees, and dyed in a red onion skin and alum bath.
This silk scarf was also dyed twice. It was pole-wrapped lengthwise and dyed in the cinerea bath. After it had dried, Tricia folded it lengthwise, pole-wrapped it again diagonally and dyed it in red onion skins and alum.
This silk scarf was clamped with blocks and dyed in the Samoan hardwood pot. Then it was twisted repeatedly until it turned back onto itself and tied, and dyed in the red onion skins, a few days later.
Maz was working on her piece for the Beyond the Surface exhibition in QLD next month. It consists of four small works on the theme of Seasons, based on the techniques she learned in a recent workshop with Effie Mitrofanis. This one is autumn…
…and this one is summer.
Tricia was going on with her Tunisian crochet.
Nola was cutting paper stencils for her silk screens, to use in discharging some of her dyed fabrics next week.
She showed us some fabric she’d discharged using the same method. It began like this: