I recently came across the term “multi-craftural” the other day and thought it was a fantastic word! I assume it means “someone who loves and practices more than one, two or three crafts….” Its such a good description of many crafters, if I think of the crafty types I know, all of us do at least two or more crafts.
And one technique I’ve been meaning to try for …. years…… is natural and found objects for dyeing. I’ve seen some gorgeous colours produced by using found items like rusty nails and plant materials like bark and leaves.
Source: Flickr – Schilling2
But I must admit I’ve been rather put off by actually trying it out, the books and articles I’ve read usually call for all sorts of cooking pots, weird chemicals I’ve never heard of and a well-ventilated stove preferably outside! (I’m afraid I just don’t have one of those, don’t really want to spend the money getting one & this is not something I want to try out in my kitchen around others!)
Source: Flickr – Leo Reynolds
Have no fear!
So it was with absolute delight that I came across an article in Down Under Textiles No. 3 (Sept 2010) about Rita Summers and her approach to textiles, recycling, experimenting and dyeing. Best of all, she had simple instructions which seem a bit more achievable to me. (There are still a few things I’m stuck on like finding some of the chemicals like iron sulphate – just where do you buy that?)
But I did like her instructions for rusting fabric because I had all the items already!
100 teabags – yes!
4 litres of hot water – yes!
Ironmongery – old nails, screws etc: yes! (scavenged from the builders’ thoughtful scrap heap they left behind.)
So I didn’t worry about finding iron sulphate but adapted her instructions to rust some silks and cottons.
Here’s what I did and the results:
I soaked these fabrics in the teabags & hot water for about 10 minutes and then wrapped them in the iron nails and screws & cold water for about 3 hours. This is what I got:
Silk Organza - tea rusted
Velvet with DMC Embroidery Threads - tea rusted
Silk georgette - tea rusted
Cotton with hand printing - tea rusted
The darker marks you can see on the organza, georgette and velvet are the ironmongery marks.
I then let them dry and then washed them in boiling hot soapy water to see how much colour they lost. The small scrap you see at the bottom is what they looked like after being hot washed.
So now I’ve got the multi-craftural bug……
So now I think I’ve got “the crafty bug” to keep exploring this craft too! I’m going to have to think of a way to try out the plant dyeing ……….