I intend to bring ZEST to my activities each day.
Last month, I set out to open up on social media in order to find the good it might do for me as a person.
I can honestly say that I've tried, but have come hopelessly short of my goal. Learning has never been this difficult.
I have dedicated every morning to it. looking outside on my sunny greening lawn and warming gardens, while not getting anywhere. And then the rest of the languishing country wakes up and my rural internet connection fades.
That's when I take a deep breath and head outside....
....the squirrels have left me some acorns and they're exactly what I need right now!
My friend Nancy at Oasis Boutique returned some unsold Sanctuary Innerwear sets. Among these were two in which the colour had faded: indigo and woad.
If the garment that you have bought from me has faded significantly, please let me know."
So now I'm back to the drawing board (or dye pot, whatever the case may be...).
Woad and indigo colour as a result of the constituent "indigotin" in their leaves. Both have a very rich history and are quite magical to work with. My dye vats are 2 and 3 years old, with fermented leaves from my garden added each time I dye and refresh the vat.
The vats are also quite temperamental. Here's the poor dye result I got on a day I was arguing with my husband!
The forces of nature in the plants make the ultimate decision as to whether or not to divest colour. I've achieved wonderful results and been disappointed as many times. For this fabric, I will overdye with goldenrod to attempt to achieve the green of ZEST and try again for TRUTH. Perhaps you've been with me during one of my dye workshops at Abbey Gardens. Were the indigo gods smiling on us that day?
Although technically they are both a pigment and not a dye, woad and indigo are typically very colourfast and don't require a mordant (preparation to open the fibres to accept the dye). But mordanting serves two purposes: to connect the dye to the fibres ("mordant" means to "bite") and, logically following, to make the colour stay in the fibres.
Enter: the acorns. Acorns contain tannins, natural chemicals secreted by woody plants in order to deter insects looking to use them as hosts. We know tannins from two common things: red wine (developed in oak barrels) and tanning leather. Other tannin mordanting which I do involves rhubarb leaves, sumac leaves, and pomegranate rinds. Here I am cooking year-old rhubarb leaves to make a concentrated tannin mordant.
These latter give a more yellow colour, so i'm trying acorns. Here's the result after soaking acorns, cooking them, drawing off the water, soaking fabric in it, then collking the fabric in alum and leaving it overnight:
During this time of social distancing and worry about my mom and running out of food, at least my dye supplies are available. I just need to wait until it's time to pick. That seems manageable. And predicatable.
Being resourceful is my forte.
And still I'm scared.
Each morning I wake up and it's still here....
...and I'm still here. I'm still making, still using the bounty that is thankfully still being provided for our use.
I can't offer any deals or give-aways this month.
But I am still here, and still discovering, and will do what I can to make your wearing experience what you need it to be.
I intend to bring more ZEST to everything I do.
I'm the designer and creator of
a line of hand made clothing worn next to the skin which imparts goodness from plants through the hand-dyed and infused fabric.