I'm still dyeing. Solar dyeing in this series of Sept. 15 photos includes, left to right Old Man's Beard Lichen (which went on to turn pale blue green, although the lichen in the sunlight turned dark aquamarine!), avocado (peach color), and red cosmos (celedon color). There is now an additional Black-eyed Susan jar incubating, but that one is difficult to extract to its full potential of olive green with alum mordant. Mine will be tannish. Photos of dyed wool drying on the rack in my workshop/studio were also taken Sept. 15, and more have been added since. i've been protecting the Japanese Indigo patches from light frost and hope to have time to do one more indigo dyeing session--blues are very deep this year, as you can see in the photos, and the 2nd (boiled leaves) extract is so strong it is coming up a beautiful peachy color this year instead of the usual yellow. it has really been an excecptional year for natural dyeing. I have a silk scarf that I Shibori-tied that I pre-dyed in avocado to a very warm apricot/tan. I will re-tye and over dye in al blue indigo extraction if I get time. So fun to play! The silk scarf blanks are very reasonably priced from Dharma Trading Company (http://www.dharmatrading.com/) ; I have 2 more on hand to play with later!
It was time. Frost was coming. I canceled my Saturday plans. Russ cleaned his workshop and generously shared it so that Anne Burgeson, my friend and Fiber Arts teacher from the Twin Cities, and I could convert it into "Dyeing Central." Besides Anne, I invited several friends and their fiber over for a visit on the spur of the moment, because the weather forecast just wouldn't allow us to wait any longer. Russ's workshop magically became a beautiful space cleaned up by him with a fire in the wood stove, the hot water heater turned on, and Anne's dyeing equipment set up. We had a variety and fresh and preserved natural materials to work with; yesterday's workshop specialized in natural dyes that do not require mordants. Simple is good. We pumped or dipped pure, very soft rainwater from our rain barrels. The range of colors, variety, intensity we got was, well, to dye for. More later, with photos...And yes, it did freeze here last night. So, we had harvested my very growthy, succulent Japanese Indigo just in the nick of time, and what a good time we had. We even did experiments, and they all worked (except for my annual failed effort to get nice reds and pinks naturally.) Thank you, Ann, Russ, and my friends who showed up on short notice to make this wonderful, spur of the moment event possible. I'm letting a couple final baths cool now and this morning I dipped into the mordants just a bit to try and pull those elusive pinks and reds from my red cosmos, but, no dice, no red, just the usual pretty greenish yellow. Will try an avocado bath next, but it will probably be just the usual pretty apricot,and this weekend we discovered much easier ways to get that.! Thanks to Russ for facilities and kitchen support, and to Anne and my other dyeing friends for making this such a special event. Did I mention this photo is already out of date? More colors added this morning.
Jeanne Dukerschein loves animals and also has enjoyed lifelong interests in fiber arts, nature, and writing. In 2006, she learned to spin her own yarns and purchased her first Shetland ewe. Her poetry and fiber art, as well as her 20-year career as a freshwater biologist, carry common themes of nature, ecology, and