Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Dying to have a go . . .


Sometimes my desire to experiment with new things threatens to make the business too amorphous, too messy, and too time consuming and I have to rein myself in and decide what Snapdragon is actually meant to be about.
I have been wittering on to friends for a year or so about wanting to try dying antique linen with plant material and to be honest I did nothing about it as I suspected that it would fit into the category of things that don't fit properly into business life. I based these suspicions on the amount of plant material I would need to grow, just to provide the dye, and the fact that I don't even have enough planting space for my flowers.
Then I got a copy of Rita Buchanan's book A Dyers Garden and found that you can dye with dahlia flowers and you need flowers that are just passed their prime (and therefore unsaleable) and that you can freeze the flowers until you have enough for a dye bath.
Well that seems core business enough for me! Roll on the summer and dahlia dyed linen.

12 comments:

Primrose Hill said...

Hi Jane,
That sounds like a lovely idea, especially when the colours of some dalia are particulary stunning. Hopefully the kids won't mind having to skip a bath every now and then seeing as it'll be full of fabric dying!!
L x

gillian said...

Hello Jane,
I love the idea of dying your own fabric, especailly as you will really be using waste products. I'm sure that Rip City would produce the most fantastic colour.

Jane said...

Lisa - have you seen my soap phobic children?
J
x

Joanna said...

That sounds so exciting looking forward to seeing the results

Nonnie said...

That sounds like a fantastic idea. I love dalias. Some of the colours are stunning and if you could get that to translate into the dyes I'm sure they'd be beautiful. Can't wait to see the results.

Heather said...

Jane - what will you use as a mordant? I ask because plant dyes are notoriously fickle - especially to light fastness.

I find it hard to understand how beetroot can stain and ruin a perfectly good white teeshirt - but fades away to grey on a piece of fabric its meant to stick to!!

Heather

Clare said...

It sounds like a really great idea - look forward to seeing the end results!

Anonymous said...

Oh how brilliant. I love your way of working and thinking. Can't wait to see the results.

Cherry xx

Jane said...

Heather - the book shows the effects of several different mordants - Allum seems to be the easiest, but the richest colours were with iron.
I'm not keen to use anything which will be difficult to dispose of so I shall have to do some more research.
I suspect that the colours will be a lot more muted, more earthy than the flowers but I know that the very dark dahlias stain water in buckets a deep pink, so there must be a fair amaount of dye in there.

Christa said...

I have heard dahlias can be used for dye but I have never seen fabric dyed with them. I am curious to know how it turns out. Keep us posted!

carolyn said...

Dahlia Dyed Linen now that certainly sounds like whole a new product.

Jane said...

Sometimes I sear the bottom of stems when I cut them - this is largely in the spring but I also do it with some large scale summer blooms like sunflowers and dahlias - I have noticed that after heating many turn the water in the vase a reddish pink.
These must be the plants that have some dye in them.