25 May 2010

solar dyeing // centaurea cyanus

after a not very successful result with the centaurea cyanus (=cornflower) dyebath, I decided to give these beautiful flowers "another chance", but this time, in the form of a solar dyeing.

I mordanted a piece of (smooth) silk & a piece of (white) linen & when they were ready, I added the flower heads (full, not only the petals), face down on the fabrics. I did this in my bathtube.

face down on the silk

I tried to have them cover harmoniously the fabrics, then rolled each of them, and tied them with string. Then I put them in a big glass jar, poured warm water, and finally I added a big flat stone on top of them, before closing the jar. (which was not 100% hermetic) This is how it looked like the first day.

linen & silk in centaurea cyanus solar dyeing

if you haven't been warned, it can look like a bit macabre, if you see what I mean (wewh) Then this is how it looked like on day 2, to my own surprise.

purple

after 9 days, the liquid was blurry & started to grow a bit of mould, so I decided to rince & dry today. So these are the results on the silk ...

cornflower solar dyeing on silk

cornflower solar dyeing on silk

cornflower solar dyeing on silk

cornflower solar dyeing on silk

cornflower solar dyeing on silk

cornflower solar dyeing on silk

cornflower solar dyeing on silk

cornflower solar dyeing on silk

the final result on silk is : a general yellowness, with numerous brighter yellow spots, and here & there, blueish purple stains. A brownish zone too, at one left. The circular lines at the bottom were where the strings tied the roll.

and now, this is the final result on linen ...

cornflower solar dyeing on linen

cornflower solar dyeing on linen

cornflower solar dyeing on linen

cornflower solar dyeing on linen

cornflower solar dyeing on linen

cornflower solar dyeing on linen

the results are rather similar, but we can see them better, as silk has this delicate transparency.

I was very excited with these results ! They didn't bleed much at all, and I was SO pleased to see tiny splashes of purple/blue from the petals ! hurray ! :)

2 comments:

  1. include a piece of scrap iron in the bundle next time, pour on cool water, then a little melted wax on top [to stop the mould growing] and try leaving it for 5 or 6 weeks...

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  2. I love reading about these adventures in dying. I have never tried it, but this makes me want to try. What does "mordant" mean in this context?

    ~Faith
    http://airynothing.net/Blogs/index.php?blog=11
    http://airynothing.net/Blogs/index.php?blog=10

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