Friday, November 9, 2012

A November Dye Walk


Foxglove Farm was the location of the Salt Spring Fall Felting retreat; one with a an abundance of wonderful plant materials to chose from for the eco-dyeing segment of the dyeing day of the retreat. 
The participants made some absolutely gorgeous eco-prints on silk. I didn't have a chance to make one during the retreat time, so on a perfectly sunny crisp Fall day this week, I returned to farm to make my own bundle for my November print.

The artichokes are just at the end of their life cycle. They were a new plant to try in eco-dyeing for me, and the participants got some very clear, yellow/green results from the leaves, even when opened after only 2 days.  I collected some extra to bring to Nelson with me for the dyeing day there.

 
How dramatic is that?! All the more so because it is not all new and fresh and shiny....perfectly imperfect...attractively aged by the elements, by choosing to arrive late in the season....What gorgeous surfaces...so easy to imagine translating into felt....


 And some oh-so-beautiful cotinus (purple smoke bush).....in fiery fall colours.....When I have dyed with this before I got amazing blue prints...the participants at the retreat saw some stunning bright pinks....different soil? different time of year? Perhaps the ph, as in my past experiments with this, I was not using vinegar as a dip, as we did at the retreat. An acid should bring out the more pink/red tones in a plant dye, while a more basic bath will enhance the blue tones....Ah...the wonders of plant dyeing!


And this little lovely, Chickweed (Stellaria Media) is a dear friend to me- one I love to have growing in between intentionals in my garden, and delightfully found growing in abundance up at the farm. Not for dyeing...but just for munching on as I walk through the garden....I immediately feel all the more healthful just for doing so....



Back in the studio, laying out the plants on a length of organic cotton, previously printed.....


 This piece has many layers already...over many months...an exploration.....This section started with dahlia flowers and a little iron, then rerolled and dipped in an indigo bath...now being printed again with purple smoke bush (cotinus), as well as walnuts, artichoke leaves, rose and maple leaves, some dipped in an iron solution....


And, at the same time, a length of silk habotai, with all the plants above plus some poplar leaves...there is something so sensual about the plants materials, veiled in wet silk.....love observing this....

My November dye walk bundles, ready for steaming....wrapped around pear tree windfalls also from the farm....It always feels so good, just to take some time to enjoy the sunlight, go to a beautiful place, and be with the plants! To bring the lightness and pure pleasure of this activity into being....

Thanks to Foxglove Farm, for allowing me to wander!
Warm wishes,
Fiona


1 comment:

  1. What a gorgeous sign the Foxglove Farm has !!!
    The artichokes look great (the leaves ánd that flower, majestic they are !)
    Incredible colour that cotinus .....
    I'm interested in the result of your November bundle ( just waiting and you'll show us, no doubt !)

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