Notions-Drye Goods Studio Diary

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Artemisia Wormwood Dye

This plant makes a good steam print early in the spring and will make a yellow and green dye. Since the options for yellow are many, I like to turn it green. I start out by harvesting the artemisia. This is the wormwood of absinth fame. It also makes a great bug repellent. While I wouldn't rub it directly on my skin (any plant "active" enough to make a dye or have medicinal properties is also active enough to give you an allergic reaction) you can rub it on your boots and socks to chase away tiny critters trying to bite your ankles. The other handy thing about it is that it is considered a noxious weed in most states and nobody cares if you harvest it. It is quite abundant here in Eastern Washington. It grows in disturbed ground and has a much bigger leaf than our native artemisia, and also a potent sage smell.

I bring it home and chop it up, stems and all and put it in a neutral pot of water, big enough to hold whatever it is that I am dyeing that day. I simmer it for about an hour and then strain off the liquid. I put the liquid back in the neutral pot and then introduce silk fabric that has been pretreated with alum in the normal fashion. I let that simmer for about and hour and allow it to sit overnight. I remove it in the morning and rinse it out in clear water.

These were done just a few weeks ago and are more golden than the samples I did in the spring. Time of year probably made the difference. At this point I could either lay out some steel wool or rusted nails on it with a bit of vinegar water spray and let it sit overnight, or I could boil it in an iron pot for a bit and it turns green. Then I can use it to eco print with whatever makes a print with iron or rust.

The top photo is what it looked like after the nails had been removed and then the bottom image is after the eco print. The next two are finished items, the first a detail of a scarf that was boiled in an iron pot and the second the beaded infinity scarf made from the above samples.

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