I’ve had a pruning of mistletoe hanging in my laundry for a while, drying. Last week it was time to do something with it, so being absolutely crisp it crumbled nicely into my stainless steel dye pot.
After soaking overnight in rainwater with just enough water to cover the leaves and twigs completely, the pot simmered away for an hour on low heat. I left the whole lot to cool overnight and then strained off the liquid, by now a beautiful tawny brown colour.
A lovely piece of Japanese kimono silk crepe has been crying out for some colour, so I treated that with an alum mordant and popped it in the mistletoe water. The pot went back on the stove with a bit more water and was brought it back to a very gentle simmer. It steamed for an hour and then cooled slowly overnight again. Natural dyeing is a slow process, but look at the result!
From the left – undyed; mistletoe; alkaline modified; acid modified.
I tried modifying with washing soda for the alkaline and vinegar for the acid, but not much result. If anything, the acid-modified piece leans towards being a bit pinker.
Welcome to the blog of Maradadi Textiles. This site aims to present information on shibori techniques and gleanings on contemporary approaches to this ancient craft. Natural indigo dyeing goes hand in hand with shibori, and I would like to share what I know about the magic and mystery of the indigo vat. I live in Melbourne, and I use a fructose vat because it is the most suitable for this climate, especially in winter.
Occasionally, dear reader, please let me indulge in side tracks and fancies that I hope will be thought provoking. Spring is here; the wattle is in all its myriad shades of yellow and blossoms are bursting out everywhere. For the first time, it struck me how many flowers have a 5-petal arrangement. Just a quick stroll in the garden revealed the following examples: Plum blossom, Cymbidium orchid, Sweet violet. Why 5?
Having consulted the amazing world of the internet, it seems that the answer is in the mathematics of shapes. Five hexagons can be placed around a central pentagon to form a dome shape, which these five petal flowers exhibit. The cells of the plant’s flower tip are arranged similarly, and these cells grow into sepals, stamens, pistils and ovaries; all the parts of a flower.