An attempt to document my creative pursuits and spew inspiration into the universe.

An attempt to document my creative pursuits and spew inspiration into the universe.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wonderful Walnut and Natural Dyeing

I feel so lucky to be living near this venerable, old-growth Black Walnut tree.
This is a view from my dye kitchen.
She's really in her glory in the fall. Standing underneath her brilliant yellow canopy, on a lemony carpet; a breeze puffs by and hundreds of small, shimmery leaves snow down golden... Just watch out that a nut doesn't fall on your head! This year the nuts are bountiful. They give up the most gorgeous brown, tan, and beige colors. The leaves (while still green) also make a lovely brownish dye. However, I still have two five-gallon buckets of this soaking-nut ooze from past years. I'm trying to use it up, but a little goes a long way. I'll not be collecting nuts for dyeing this year. The squirrels get them all! The brown is walnut dyed over logwood and indigo. The beige is the walnut exhaust bath . These are madder berries. I've read that madder "does not reliably produce seeds", so I decided I ought to harvest these seed-containing berries while I had the chance. Each berry contains one largish seed. I'm still waiting for the madder tops to die down so I can dig the roots and use them.
These are dark red dahlia flowers, dried, that my friend saved for me over the summer. The dyebath was a deep, red, merlot color, but the wool came out a bit different than that. The dark bronze color on the left is from the dahlias. The sheen of the Romney fleece makes it look almost metallic in real life. The brilliant yellow on the right is from a fresh Dyer's Polypore Rick found in the forest near our house. I simmered the mushroom, strained it, then merely soaked the fleece in the dyebath without heat to get this color!

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