Literature and Art

Tissu à Colorier avec des Plantes (coloring fabric with plants)

I was so inspired by an article in the September issue of Martha Stewart magazine about an artist who grows wonderful herbs and flowers for dye and colors her own textiles to create art.

Many years ago some dear friends of mine bought me a picture that showed a woman weaving and had each plant for color listed around her. I often looked at that and thought I would do that some day.

I dreamed of it all last week, planning out a beautiful dye garden. In the meantime I bought some gorgeous purple cabbage, took one of Doug’s old t-shirts, and began to create something beautiful varying the recipes given in that article.

In a stainless steel pot, I brought 12 cups of water and 2 cups of sea salt to boil and added the shirt. That simmered for one hour. When cool, I pulled it out, wrung it out (I did not rinse), washed the pot, and added the shirt back to the pot. The sea salt bath acts as a mordant to help the color stay.

I then added 12 cups of fresh water and 4 cups of shredded purple cabbage, and brought this to boil. I let that simmer for an hour. When I pulled it out, rinsed it and saw that the color wasn’t as dark as I would have liked, I put it back in the pot for several more hours.

Then I pulled it out, rinsed it, wrung it out, and hung it to dry in the sun.

It turned a lovely sky blue. I plan on doing other colors with other natural fabrics (I may go to the second hand store and see what I can find.) and create more colored pieces. These may become patchwork shawls, quilts, or other designs that are tres belle!

Calendula, indigo, blueberries, beets, goldenrod…so many colors to experiment with! I wonder what fabric dyed in coffee, or wine, carrots, roses, onion, avocado pits, or pine needles would look like! Create some art today mes amiesla belle vie!

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