Monday, April 7, 2014

Lessons Learned

The process of making les fleurs de coin led me to a number of interesting discoveries.  Here are two of the lessons I learned.

1) The background of les fleurs de coin was made with one of my eco-dyed fabrics.  You may remember that I began to dabble with eco-dyeing this past summer.  I was (and still am) intrigued by the possibilities of transferring color from my garden to cloth. In particular, I hoped that the luscious reds of my roses would come out on fabric.  Instead, what I learned was that fabric that starts out looking like this

fades/rinses out and changes to brown fairly quickly.

(with wrinkles still intact)
I was rather disappointed at the time and haven't yet found anyone who knows how to maintain the reddish hues that first appear. I suppose it makes sense that the brown emerges on the cloth since fallen rose petals oxide as they die;  I suspect the same process occurs with any transferred color.  The lesson learned here is that Nature will continue to do her thing whether in the garden or on the cloth.

2) I wanted the mottled fabric to represent the wall of an old stone building, but I didn't want the brown spots to be evident throughout the piece.  As I worked, I discovered that the areas with the most mottling had the hardest time accepting the water soluble crayon color.  For example, the color seemed to sit on top of the fabric in some parts of the lantern, which worked well to create the impression of glass,

but brown dots showing through the flowers made them look like they were dying.  In those areas, I had to color and wet the fabric as many as four times in order to get the water color to stick to the dampened fibers.

This was very unexpected. I didn't anticipate that the rose stains would be as permanent and impenetrable as they were.  The good news is that this suggests that the eco-dyeing results are more colorfast than I hoped.

1 comment:

Kristin L said...

Sometimes the lessons are even better than the finished artwork. Though it looks like you got the best of both worlds. If you haven't already, you should check out Lotta Helleberg's adventures in natural dyeing. She mostly sticks to browns, but what gorgeous browns they are! I took a natural dyeing workshop with my local spinner's guild and we got lovely pinky reds with cochineal. It's a special bug, so it's not readily available in your yard, but it can be easily ordered online.