natural dyes

Some new work

Below are images of the pieces I completed since I have become a member of Project Art for Nature. Visiting my site in mid-June, I encountered a field of one of my favorite native wildflowers, Monarda fistulosa (also known as wild bergamot or bee balm), not yet in bloom but vigorous with upward verdant growth. The topmost leaves of brilliant yellow-green seemed almost like sources of light. Three of the pieces are my response to observing this field.

I was also attracted to a hillside dense with tall, graceful grass. I have since learned this is an invasive and difficult-to-eradicate species called reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea). Its presence can lead to a decline in native plants. Since learning this, I have noticed it everywhere - in roadside ditches, parks, etc. It grows so thick it tends to choke the wetlands.

Transient
Robust Grass | natural pigments on silk | 46"x 26" mounted | © 2011 Kit Eastman

Robust Grass | natural pigments on silk | 46"x 26" mounted | © 2011 Kit Eastman

Field and Sky 1 | natural pigments on reclaimed linen damask | 30"x40" mounted | © Kit Eastman

Field and Sky 1 | natural pigments on reclaimed linen damask | 30"x40" mounted | © Kit Eastman

Field and Sky 2 | natural pigments on reclaimed linen damask | 40"x30" mounted | © Kit Eastman

Field and Sky 2 | natural pigments on reclaimed linen damask | 40"x30" mounted | © Kit Eastman

Some greens (from pinks)

I completed my experiment with ice-flower dyeing (see book by India Flint) and below are some photos of the process. Really seat-of-the-pants fun. I over-dyed the silk and linen I had previously dyed in birch bark, which resulted in an earthy yellow/neutral, so that keep that in mind when you see all the green tones. Perhaps white would have yielded more blue. First, the final result, which I intend to incorporate in my woven pieces for the Cloth2Cloth workshop I'm enrolled in over at Jude Hill's place.

[caption id="attachment_2631" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="greens from pink gladiolas"]greens from pink gladiolas[/caption]

Then, if you're interested in seeing all the intermediate stages, here are a bunch more photos. What was surprising to me were the beautiful (and ephemeral) blues and purples and pinks from the initial squeezing of the flowers as well as  how much the color  changed with the mordants. The really peachy pink came from the vinegar mordant. The other 2 (of 3) bowls had a bit of alum mordant (one for cellulose and a different one for protein). These really went green, with the silk yielding the most lovely green in my opinion. The warm neutral (not green) silk above came with the vinegar as mordant.

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Countdown to California

In less than 24 hours I'll be on my way to California! I'm taking another workshop with John Marshall and look forward to new learning, and to seeing  Sacramento, Covelo, Eureka, the Pacific and the winding roads! Hopefully this will also mean a break from the heat and humidity  :-D Last weekend in Loring Park --  90 degrees both days, humidity about the same -- very uncomfortable! Here are a few pics:

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View out the back of my booth

View out the back of my booth

I met another fiber artist working with natural dyes -- Dawnette Davis of Grand Rapid's Minnesota (no website yet....). I bought a beautiful silk scarf from her dyed with iron-modified cochineal and imprinted with rusted objects....the iron modifier created a beautiful grayish violet/blue. Here's a photo. Beautiful work!

naturally dyed (cochineal, iron) silk scarf by Dawnette Davis

naturally dyed (cochineal, iron) silk scarf by Dawnette Davis

I'm busy in the kitchen in between trip preparation tasks trying to put away some of the veggie garden harvest. Yesterday it was two big batches of pesto. Today it's salsa and cutting up oodles of zucchini for the freezer. My husband planted many Gladiola bulbs and so we have them all over the house as well as garden. Trimming bouquets and deadheading in the garden today it occurred to me to freeze some blossoms and then try India Flint's ice flower dyeing technique when I return. Don't you think freezing flower blossoms for dye is a brilliant idea? I really look forward to seeing what kind of color these yield ...

Glad blossoms for freezing

Glad blossoms for freezing

I am not bringing the computer so expect more on the blog after August 23rd when I return!