Friday, July 10, 2009

in the pink (or not)

Recently I was surprised at the mailbox when I opened a note from my sister Mary and nearly spilled the lovely pink contents out onto the gravel drive.


It turns out they were flowers from her orchid cactus, that she suspected (from a spill, I imagine) that they might contain a dye. Being ever inquisitive and generous, she saved them and mailed them on for my pleasure and experimentation.


They were so lovely, that I promptly dropped them in a jar of water for a “solar tea” type dye experiment. Immediately the water turned a nice shade of pink, like the color of red zinger tea.


My sister Mary is always full of surprises. She is not a fiber artist, but a “real” artist and story teller. Her newly spruced up website and blog at “Earththemes Studio” only reflect a fraction of her artistic skill in interpreting her love of nature and a good story, take a little peak and a little visit there and enjoy.

Meantime, back at the dye jar. I thought that I remember that hibisicus (a fugitive dye) might be mordanted to improve its fastness a tad by the use of alum. And I thought (without any information or research at all) that maybe because the color looked so similar that I could just pop a little fleece into some alum water and then into the magic red jar and voila!


I will spare you the sad photo of the moment that I put the mordanted fleece into the red liquid and it immediately turned an ugly, pale mustard yellow. Then it rinsed to white, which was probably a blessing.

Now I am wondering about hibisicus and hollyhock (not that this was either of those, or even remotely related, and not that my hollyhocks are going to have enough blooms to fiddle with this year) but curiosity is addictive.

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