Sunday, August 4, 2019

Solar botanical dyeing update

It is Sunday afternoon and time is about to run away from me, so I thought I should grab the moment and release my threads from their solar dye pots.

The week began with my Dad delivering more violets for my pot.  These violets came from his house here, from a plant he brought with him from Tathra in far south New South Wales, when he moved, which in turn had been grown from the plant he had in Canberra at the house where I grew up.  So they are specially connected to place and home for me. Special.

We added them to the pot and let the weather continue its job. The sun wasn't too strong or too bright this week; but we did manage intermittent sunshine.

I think the coffee grounds did really well - a nice warm brown appeared (centre).  The rosemary leaves went a pale yellow (right); and as I thought, the pale rosemary flowers did very little at all (left).

So I dunked the rosemary flowers in the iron and they took on a rusty tinted hue...(bottom)

You learn so much when you just have a go and try something; and of course you would learn a bit more if you actually worked with somebody who knew what they were doing. Nonetheless I have gleaned a few learnings and I expect they might stick.

Such as, more time doesn't necessarily mean deeper or brighter colour.

Here is the red crucifix orchid pot halfway through the week. When I played with it, the threads looked pinkish-reddish.

By the end of the time, the red flowers had browned off in the pot, and I think, so too had my threads.

My sense is that had I taken the threads out earlier, they may have been brighter. I realise I am never going to get bold and bright colours, but I really do think they have lost a fair bit!

Of course, it could just be a case of imaginitis .

But they are still pretty gorgeous.

Here they are drying outside after rinsing... along with comfrey (top) and violets (right).

I love the blue from the violets! And the softness of the creamy comfrey.

In fact I love the violets so much I added more thread and topped up the pot with more flowers, and alum and boiling water!

Off we go again.


  1. You have pulled some wonderfully soft colors ... all of them so compatible ... and I especially like the violet blues and rosemary yellows!

    1. Thanks Liz they did end up quite harmonious didn't they? They actually make me feel calm and gentle just looking at them. Rosemary makes a delicious buttery yellow!

  2. violets are such a giving plant!

    1. I agree wholeheartedly Mo - their scent is divine, they make me smile whenever I see them in the garden and now - blue!


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