Notions-Drye Goods Studio Diary

Thanks for checking in. I am a fiber artist and designer. My currant emphasis is on eco printing and other wildcraft with a touch of up-cycling thrown in. You can also catch up with my wanderings on my Facebook page Drye Goods Studio.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Time Change

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that."
Martin Luther King

Luminaria with eco printed shades

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Little Peace Please

"Stillness is the altar of the spirit."
Paramahansa Yogananda

A day spent on an experiment, lots of them! If they turn out they will be shades for luminaria, if not, I have a whole bunch of little pieces to play with. I have been chasing my own tail lately. To have a quiet day was necessary. I will get around to explaining the foil eventually.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Words to Live By

"Surrender to the process, not the goal."
Adam Steltzner

Ceramic pendants that will have glass centers! We hope!

Steaming paper.

Blackberry on silk crepe with steel wool.

No bodily harm-this is the next post, playing around with making natural inks and watercolors.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Alum as an Adjunct

To be honest, I don't do much with alum in general as it seems to make silk a bit stiff. After steaming red cabbage either in an eco print or by itself I do give a post steam rinse with a small amount of alum in the water. This turns the cabbage from red-purple to some shade of blue. The red-purple seems to be fairly fugitive while the blue lasts. I maybe use a teaspoon in a gallon of water per scarf. This is a guesstimate as I am usually working on more than one scarf at a time.

I did a scarf with Himalayan Blackberry on a rusted steel wool pre-mordant. Nasty plant, wonderful print-isn't that always the way! I like the stark, hand drawn look of the prints with the purply "bleed" from the end of the stems.


When I have put them in with red cabbage they appear to go pink after the alum rinse. I thought it would be interesting to see what they looked like by themselves with the after rinse. I heated up some water and dissolved the alum powder in it, then let it cool off. I immersed the scarf and kept an eye on it for changes. After a few hours I decided it didn't look like it was changing any more so I took it out and let it dry. I gave it a rinse with shampoo the next day. I didn't add any alkaline to the alum water as the scarf was already exposed to salt as part of the rust mordant done before the steaming. How much difference a cream of tartar addition would make I am not sure. I used a teaspoon of alum in a gallon and a half of water. I decided if I was writing a post about it I should make note of the details. As you can see in the next picture, the prints stayed dark and the background turned a limey green.

The conclusion I came to is that the leaves themselves are bleeding or "dyeing" the background, similarly to what the cabbage does, but in this case in it isn't readily apparent until you expose it to the alum. I liked this, but liked it without just as well so I decided to do another scarf with blackberry so I would have one of each. This also allowed me to take a picture side by side so the difference is really clear. Also proving that this can be done over and over with the same result.

A note about working with Himalayan Blackberry, it has miserable thorns. Gloves are advised and although I have never had it make an actual hole in the fabric I do trim the ends of the thorns before placing the leaves. 

So, I guess the conclusion is that sometimes an after bath in a small amount of alum can bring out colors you didn't know were there. As to whether you like it or not is another matter altogether, so using scraps to experiment with might be a good call. I have done this to some things that I really didn't care for the outcome. The items in the print that changed color did so in a way that did not mesh with the rest of the printing. Knapweed, Arrowleaf Balsamroot and Artemisia Wormwood usually come out some shade of yellow when an alum pre-mordant is used, sage green with rust pre-mordant, so when mixed in with leaves that may have tannins etc it may be the influence of the other leaves that causes the after rinse to produce less than ideal results-kind of an indescribably ugly color somewhere between dirty yellow and a not good lime green.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


"Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go."

Peony, Filbert and Coreopsis

Friday, September 22, 2017

I am Only Happy when it Rains

After 80 days of no rain and 20 or so days of choking smoke filled air the last few days have been a relief. The air is washed clean and everything seems to have been revived. Even the birds and the insects seem more energetic. 

Golden Currant


Siberian Iris

The zen puddle is back!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Iron as an Adjunct

My husband had planted a black walnut tree in the yard sometime ago and it finally got big enough that I could take some leaves to see what happens. I had some seen some really great results on the web, but had never had much luck. 

I thought about using an adjunct, which means a mordant you apply during or after the dye or printing process. It affects what you have already done.

I started with an alum treated scarf. I also added some contorted filbert leaves to the roll as I didn't think I had tried them with an alum mordant. As you can see the result was a really zingy yellow.

Flibert leaves

Black walnut
The shapes of the leaves came out pretty well but the prints weren't terribly detailed. I have had good luck with soaking material like this in either the iron pot or a pan of rusted water. Since I hadn't worked with rusted water much this year, I decided to do that. To make rusted water put a few rusty objects in a quart jar. Add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar and fill the jar with water. Put the lid on and let it set for about a week or so. When the water is orange it is ready to use. For a 14"x 72" scarf you will add about a quarter cup of the rusted water to about a half gallon of water in a neutral pot (enamel or stainless steel). I add a splash of vinegar to this. Heat the water up to a simmer and shut off the heat. Let it cool off to lukewarm. Wet the scarf out and put it in the pan of rusted water. 

I like my little blue enamel pot for projects like this

Then keep an eye on it. Most of the time it will start to turn green right away. It will continue to darken with time. Depending on the plants you used to print with sometimes it will turn them black. They end up looking like somebody with a lot more drawing skills than I have sketched them on the fabric. Keep stirring it around and rearranging it to help even out the color change. I left mine to soak overnight, chancing that it would become really murky, but sometimes you just need to find out what will happen. Remember that wet fabric appears darker than dry fabric and the rule of thumb is that when dry the fabric will appear to be two shades lighter than it is when wet. Remove it when you think it is going to be dark enough.


Black Walnut
As you can see it turned charcoal and green. The background is more green that it appears in the image-kind of a light sage. I really liked the effect much more than just the yellow. While it was a really pretty color, the prints have more detail and depth after the rust bath.