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Botanical Contact Dyeing

Gum leaves and tree lichen on Silk

Today I got brave and dyed some silk scarves with a technique called botanical dyeing. Last time I used calico, much cheaper if it fails!

I soaked the silk in a mix of water and soy milk. While soaking I went for a wander around Clare and gathered some leaves.

I laid the scarf out on the table. Prior to placing the leaves down they were dipped in a mix of rust nails and vinegar.

Next I rolled the scarves tightly around a stick covered in lichen. Then the bundles were placed in a pot of just off the boil water with more tree lichen added.

I left the bundles in the pot for over an hour. Before removing them. Then untied and rinsed.

I was very happy with the results. The patterns from the dyes were interesting. The colours varied too from each of the scarves. I’m wondering if some of the leaves had more of the rust mix than others. These will be for sale once I have myself organised.

The studio did stink! So make sure you use a well ventilated area or outdoors if you decided to try this.

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