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, August 2, 2017

Summer Blues

Last winter while daydreaming with seed catalogues, both paper and online, I kept seeing Bachelor Buttons (Centaurea Cyanus) referred to as a dye plant. I started poking around in the various dye books I have and none of them mentioned this plant. Since it is classified in the knapweeds and knapweed foliage makes a yellow or green dye, I was curious to see what they might do. The first batch I added to pre-rusted fabric, some very faint blue from the blossoms appeared (not worth taking a picture of) and no green foliage printed at all. The second time around I used silk with an alum mordant with a bit more success.

I used just the petals sprinkled in with some Artemisia.

Then I used whole stems, mixed in with some garden sage. As you can see in the second picture, the foliage did exactly what you would expect a knapweed to do with an alum mordant; a bright sunny yellow. The blossoms did make a blue splotch, but again, not very bright. Even so, this is kind of a happy thing for me as the invasive wild knapweed stops doing this once it blooms, so now if I want yellow, I can use the bachelor buttons. It is a plant that benefits from a trim, it comes back more vigorous and with more blooms.

Alas, I finally did find some knowledgeable dye sites that referred to Bachelor Button flowers and they are not considered permanent color. Since I used all scrap fabric I will let these set for a few months, wash them and let them set around some more just to see if eco printing them might make the blue last longer than a vat dye. If they fade I will have a re-do with something else. I will also be curious to see what they do on paper.

I started them from seed last spring along with Calendula and mixed the two throughout the yard. I have to say that even though the blue may not be permanent it was not a waste; I love looking out over my yard at the blue haze with little yellow pot marigolds coming up in between.

1 comment:

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