Saturday, October 12, 2013

NATURAL DYE.. Great Egrets, Black Beans and so much more!

I've read that black beans can make a beautiful blue dye. I forgot, however, that unlike most natural dyes, it's important NOT to heat the soaking water or you'll lose the blue. (Oops!) So to recover, I added pickled beet juice to the mix and got this lovely cranberry color below.

 Feeling so encouraged and still wanting some semblance of blue (beware of attachments!), I thought how lovely it would be to have the tips be blue and fade into this rosy color. I added salt to some of the red dye, and while it looked navy in the jar, looked what it did IMMEDIATELY!
 Not at all wanting grey, I thought to return to the red and see what that would do on the grey. It looked promising. Maybe now I would have purple, grey, and rose. (Hmm, more attachments.)
 So I soaked just the tips and thought that since the silk was already soaked and dyed, it would be limited in how far the color ran up the scarf. I learned time is a factor, and left to itself long enough, the new color would saturate the entire scarf.
 After drying, there was a two-toned effect. The speckled parts are the salt residue in the dye with shades of all three colors.
Once washed and dried, what do we behold? Not cranberry, rose, blue, purple, but an elegant, shimmery gray with multiple subtle colors. Not remotely what I had planned and once I let it be what it was, I could recognize the beauty in it.

Possible lessons: Read the directions before starting. Stop while you're ahead. Let go of attachments. Things aren't always as they seem. Whatever the outcome, enjoy the process!

These Great Egrets in flight are hand designed on 11" x 60" Habotai silk. (Design modelled after photography of Bill Anderson's.) Hand wash sparingly in cold water. Iron face down.


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