"A simple cup of tea is far from a simple matter."
Mary Lou Heiss
This turned into quite the project! I am still mulling over what exactly I will do with all this fabric, but in the meantime, here is what happened. As far as process goes, I let the various teas steep overnight and then used the liquid as a dye, vs. just dipping the fabric as one normally thinks of "tea dyeing". So I poured the liquid into a clean stainless steel pot, added enough water for the fabric to float freely and then simmered each one for about 30-40 minutes. All the silk broadcloth pieces for the herb teas were pretreated with alum. As you can see, the nettle did almost nothing, instead of green or yellow. This could be because it may not work as a dried plant, or it could be I didn't simmer it long enough.
|These are the herbal teas, hibiscus, comfrey (after an iron dip), chamomile (the type for tea, not the dyer's chamomile, so the yellow was a nice surprise), St John's Wort, and the last was nettle.
|The fabric was rust treated with steel wool, so everywhere the tea interacted with the rust it turned black.
|The fabric had rusted nails laid out on it first, and again, when the tea and rust meet, the rust turned black.
I am betwixt and between as to what to do with all this. I had better make up my mind soon as the pictures and info about the piece are due at the end of the month! I found it interesting that when I was just sitting there looking at the first results I could not see the herbal tea fabric being used with the black tea fabrics at all, but when I did the iron dip on the black tea fabrics (turning it gray) other possibilities emerged. This is kind of how my head works anyway, the process of doing things inspires me, I just wish I were a little speedier at it is all.