Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Nature of Onions

As you may know,
I've become intrigued with eco dyeing over the past month.
We have a share in a CSA farm,
so I asked our farmer/friends if they would save onion skins for me,
as I had read that they produced some nice natural dyes.
I've been reading everything I can get my hands on about natural dyeing,
and learned that just plain rose leaves will print beautifully!
So yesterday afternoon I made up a packet of silk crepe and
leaves of roses, oaks, and river birches;
and then submerged it in a red onion dye bath.
It simmered - never a boil, as I used silk - for several hours,
and I'm thrilled with the results!

below you can see the progression as the rose leaves 
grow more faint:

This is the very outer end of the silk,
darkest because it was so exposed to the onion skins.
I had placed two river birch leaves here.

Here you can see both the river birch impression
and the rose leaves
(oh and of course, the twine that wrapped my packet).

The oak leaves are quite faint
and ethereal:

I had thought that I was going to have to move to
Australia or California -
in order to have easy access to Eucalyptus leaves!
Now I know that through trial,
I will find wonderful local natural dyes!



Gerrie said...

A new motto, akin to eat local- dye local. Nice, but I am not going down this road. You heard it here, first.

Lisa Kerpoe said...

They are beautiful. Nandina also works beautifully, if you have it there. And pecan shells and ligustrum berries give a wonderful rich brown.

Jeannie said...

Dang, you are tempting and teasing me to put down what I am working on and to start experimenting! Gorgeous results! The ethereal quality of the prints just add to the beauty of the silk. Way to go!!!

Robin said...

The very last picture sends me into heaven!

I'm sure somebody in CA or down under would send you a bundle of eucalyptus. Someone here grows them (NW corner of WA state)... maybe you could?

imquilternity said...

I've got a million eucalyptus trees right out on the boulevard. I would be happy to send you as many as you would like. I love what you've done with the onion skins and various leaves. I especially love the marks the string/twine made where you tied it. It looks like fun!

india flint said...

i love the challenge of working with whatever is available in the local 'bio-region'...and then having mother nature determine what goes into the dyepot by gathering only windfalls