For a few months now I've been reading India Flint's book Eco Colour and have been saving leaves and onion peels and avocado pits in hopes of eventually dyeing stuff. Eco Color by India Flint
Robert and I went for a walk on Thanksgiving morning and we collected Liquid Amber, Plum, and Sycamore leaves. First we put the leaves on our dinner table and then I used them for a dye experiment.
I loved the amber leaves so much I didn't want to ruin them! But eventually I got over that and started my experiment. I purchased a 1/2 yard of dupioni silk and which takes this type of dyeing very well and doesn't require a mordant. Apparently there is some sort of opposites attract chemical effect that happens. Basically there are two types of natural fiber; cellulose - cotton, linen and other plant derived fibers, and protein - wool, silk, all animal fibers. Since the leaves are cellulose they color is attracted to it's opposite protein. There is an entire extra process of mordanting required to get the color to bond with cellulose fibers.
I also have a eucalyptus tree in my backyard so I took some of the leaves and laid them on the silk as well. Also you see in the upper right some plum leaves that I found on my walk.
I rolled the leaves up into a little silk burrito.
|Freshly unwrapped silk & leaves.|
|Plum leaf print while wet|