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This is a great point. I like to keep it as natural and organic as possible, I think we all need to decide where we put our boundaries.
If we use natural dyes and go on using toxic mordants, I think we are not doing much good to the environment. However, there are other ways of using natural dyes that are harmless for the maker, the environment and for the wearer.
Another critique towards plant dyes is that if the use of natural dyes increases, more land is needed to cultivate the plants needed for our dyebaths, this land could otherwise be used for growing food. What if we: -explore local dye plants that are weeds and need to be cleared anyway -use tree prunings -grow flowers as a companion plant in between food plants -use veggie scraps and fruit peelings -use the dye plants more than once, so that less plants are needed, this will give different shades -use waste from the florist -use techniques that need less plant material to give colour
windfalls after the cyclone
How to use less plants for dyeing: -when the plants come out of the dye bath, dry them and you can reuse them later, you can extract more colour that way -by eco printing: using the plant material directly on top of the fabric, roll it and steam or boil. There is only very little plant material needed for this technique -by using fermentation dyeing, especially the technique re-invented by Anne Rieger, using an acid and an alkaline bath. With this technique, a bit of plant material goes a long way and it keeps releasing more dyes over time.
mandarine skins in fermentation vat
I can understand that all this is of not much use for big industries, but if we start to make a change in our own small world, that is a good beginning.
Grow your own food, grow and collect your own dye plants!
I have now uploaded all my feltmaking tutorials on my own site and they can be purchased from there. The advantages over purchasing them here rather than in my etsy shop is, that it is an instant download after payment. You will not have to wait anymore until I find out that I have made a sale on etsy. This is a big improvement for both me and my customers. Check it out on http://lizetfrijters.com/tutorials.html
I know I have been absent for a while. However, I was working and got side tracked by enjoying work in the garden more than feltmaking. I found this great woman at the "waste transfer station". I decided to give her a nice white coat of paint and here she is, working for me. Isabel is great, always willing to model and in a good mood, she leans a bit over to the right, but that's okay for me. She wants to be carried though. Well, I am happy with her and in between modeling she shares my bedroom. And so, I have done my regular task of recycling.
Yasi came, brought wind and rain, more elsewhere than here. All together, we were enough to the north of the cyclone, to be spared from a lot of damage. The areas more south are seriously affected with a lot of structural damage and loss of houses. Only one death so far. It was a long night and we were all very tired. I needed the whole day yesterday to relax.
For dyers like me, there are lots of leaves and twigs to collect. Above are some casuarina and eucalyptus leaves. I have still to find eucalyptus leaves here, that give another colour than yellow or tan.
I felted a poncho today, using a silk piece that I dyed more than a month ago with the eco print. I don't know the name of the flowers. Here is a close image of the flower:
Here is the silk with the flowers and some rusted iron on top of it, ready to being rolled into a bundle. The middle row has fresh flowers, the other rows frozen with bits of iron:
The fabric after steaming
The fabric lays in the other direction here than with the flowers still on.
The flowers turned a more beige colour with iron. I have now frozen the flowers and am dyeing another piece of silk with them in the freezer. I might take that out soon. It has been in there for a few weeks now. I just don't know yet how long to leave it in there, but I am getting curious.
I will post a photo of the poncho in a few days, when I have one.