Back to the Dye Pot

Experimenting with natural dyes has fascinated me for a long time.  I work on this fascination in bits and pieces.  There is so much to try and learn that it is a bit overwhelming.  Since we did have this bit of time in Arizona to stay put for a few weeks, I decided to break out my (very small) dye pot and my camp stove and see what could be done with these limited tools.  Spring is just beginning here in Arizona so there are is not a lot of plant stuff for the asking.  There is, however, the common food stuffs we use all the time that have been used for dyes throughout time.  I decided to work with avocado, onions, tea and turmeric.  Although I did find a few purple carrots so I eagerly tried those too! but, sadly, did not have enough to do a dye pot.  (Keeping my eyes out for purple carrots in my travels!) My avocado dyed fabric (to the right above) is more of a dusty rose probably due to the naturally high iron content in the water where we are currently staying.

These threads (white DMC embroidery floss) were dyed with (from left) purple carrot, turmeric, yellow onion skins and avocado.  The variations in color happened from using mordants after the initial dyeing process.  The mordants used were also easily found ingredients for a home/RV traveller:  baking soda, wood ash, cream of tartar and iron water.  I have to say my favorites were the ones with cream of tartar – just brightened the color a bit.  This is the first time I have taken the time to test colors with after mordants to really see for myself what happens – the best way to learn!

The Alchemist’s Apron

Traveling for the past few months kept me wondering where to go next with my artwork.  Along came India Flint announcing her new endeavor to teach an online class and the title of her new adventure is the School of Nomad Arts — well that certainly describes me – both before and after this RV adventure began.  I figured I would not be able to take a class from her anytime soon as traveling to Australia is not in my current travel plans.  India Flint is well know around the “whirld” (her spelling) for being the creator of botanical eco dyeing — using heat and pressure to print leaves and plant material onto fabric.  She makes absolutely wonderful creations.

Her first online class is The Alchemist’s Apron – I have always loved her ecodying, printing and construction so I was thrilled to be part of this class.  Luckily, we had scheduled a few weeks with a relative of my husband’s who offered us their house while they travelled.  We wondered what it would be like to settle down for a few weeks, but the timing could not have been better for me!  Out came the camp stove, some second hand store finds, and I started cutting, ripping, stitching and dyeing.  Could not be more happy to have had these days of getting back to doing what I absolutely love.

To check out more about India Flint’s work and the School of Nomad Arts: www.IndiaFlint.com