Monday, January 12, 2009

Dying with lichen

Lichen from our hikes in Florida. I think this lichen is bigger and fluffier due to all the humidity and longer growing season compared to ours in Michigan. We cut it off the sticks, tied it up in cheese cloth and put it in the dye pot. I was not really sure if it is the correct lichen for dying.

I read to use ammonia (or urine), so I dumped a whole bottle of ammonia in the pot and simmered it with the lichen (not a good thing to look at or smell), but the dye was unbelievable, it's a dark rusty color. I put a few wool sample pieces in, one was mordanted with alum the other not. They both dyed the same.
Before I went to work I pulled them out of the pot and hung them on the line, when I came home this is what it looked like.

After I washed and dried them (the first two in the picture) they had great color variations from fawn brown to splotches of rose, also I didn't manipulate the fabric in any way before I put it in the pot. I wished I had cut the pieces bigger, I thought it would make a nice background fabric for some of my house blocks. So, I simmered the pot and added another piece, it turned out this dark gray, rose, purple!

There seems still to be a lot of color left and the dye is looking darker and darker. Very interesting. Next time I go to Florida I'm going to collect more lichen and try it with water instead of ammonia. If anyone has any more information on dying with lichen please let me know, I wasn't able to find much on the web.


Melodie said...

Love the color you got! I never would have expected it from the looks of the stuff you started with! (Must've really stunk up the place, huh?)

Deb H said...

Those are amazing KaTHY! i CAN'T WAIT TO FIND FUNGUS NOW!

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