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Textile Art - Natural Dye Experiment

I've been experimenting with textile art over the past few months, and recently began working with natural dyes, planning to use the end products with various projects: stitchpots, wall-hangings, and multimedia collages.

My setup for such messy endeavours is very basic, but efficient. This week I fired up the hotplate I keep in the carport outside my studio, and filled the old stockpot I sourced at a thrift shop. While the water heated, I added a large quantity of green eucalyptus leaves and simmered them for a couple of hours. After that, I added two lengths of calico and simmered them for another hour. Turning off the heat I allowed the calico to steep for 24 hours before removing it.

The dyeing process produced a pleasant, greenish yellow colour and I set the fabric out to dry.

The next day, I took one of the lengths and added a quantity of rusty iron I've collected over the past weeks, sprinkling the fabric with white vinegar to activate the rust. I left it overnight and was rather astonished when I wandered out onto the deck the next morning.

As you'll see in the YouTube below, the results were quite amazing! Eucalyptus contains a lot of tannin which reacts chemically with iron rust. As I mention in the video, I'll work back into the interesting colours with stitching and other embellishments, and look forward to showing you the final effects.

Please click on this link: YouTube Video

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