Sun dyeing and rainwater

A couple of weekends ago I went to a WAFTA (wafta.com.au) organised visit to the Studio of textile artist and internationally recognised natural dye expert Trudi Pollard (Pollarddesigns.com) . Trudi showed us her naturally dyed fabrics, her fashion garments and then her colour garden. I was so inspired that I came home and weeded an area for sowing my own colour producing plants.  It’ll be some time before anything sprouts!

In the meantime,  I am trying to dye small pieces of silk and cotton in glass jars with plants that I have around.  I got plenty of fabulous jars by asking at the op shop that I give most of my clothes and shoes to each season.  They produced two bags full of them from out the back.

I’ve already tested the significance of pH by taking three jars and putting a 30cm square of silk , 60g of purple carrot and 300ml of water into each.  Jar 1 had nothing else added.  Jar 2 had 1 tablespoon of vinegar added.  Jar 3 had 1 teaspoon of soda ash added to it.

L-R: silk and purple carrot in water; water plus vinegar; and water plus soda ash respectively.

Silk with purple carrot and, from L-R: water; water plus vinegar; and water plus soda ash respectively. Pictured on the same silk undyed.

I’ve put other things into the new jars too but they’ll be sometime “maturing” before I take them out.

From left to right: Cotton in onion skins and water; cotton in purple carrot and water; silk with dill and water; silk with dill and water and soda ash.

From left to right: Cotton in onion skins and water; cotton in purple carrot and water; silk with dill and water; silk with dill and water and soda ash.

L-R: silk with rose hip tea bags , water and soda ash; and silk with water and red cabbage.

L-R: silk with rose hip tea bags, water and soda ash; and silk with water and red cabbage.

Today saw the start of my having my leaking roof repaired.  It’s a big job and Sean Kelly of Roofology (fantastic name!) is still not finished but is doing a terrific job. At the risk of sounding like a complete fantasist and/or as though I was asking  for something illegal, I asked Sean if he had any ideas for how I could collect rainwater for dyeing without going to the expense of installing rainwater tanks.  Besides the cost, I don’t have any room for a tank in any case.

My new

My new “rainwater tap”.

Voilà!!  Sean has installed an overflow pipe (actually two of them but I didn’t get a good shot of the second one)  which will fill a plastic rubbish bin when it pours, as it does in Perth in winter.

When it does rain, I’ll be able to test the difference between using tap water and using rainwater.

Readers of this post will probably recall this saying by Horace: Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus or “The mountain laboured and brought forth a ridiculous mouse”!!

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