For these experiements, I’ve scoured multiple dyeing books, internet articles and blogs with varying degrees of helpfulness. I had purchased many dried dyes from Carol Leigh at the HGA Convergence show that I was itching to try out. After weaving 5 shibori scarves, I was a bit nervous to mess them up (considering my history in chemistry class). I started on testers, or bits of shibori destined to open up the world of natural dyes to me.
I began with alum acetate and iron mordants, and also used an antique copper pot as a third option. I mainly used Brazilwood for the brilliant pink/red, Alkanet for greys, and two forms of Logwood for grey/purple/black. My ultimate goal was to achieve black, which would replace the need for reliance on black animal fibers. Alas…the end results were a bit of a surprise even with a consistent dye set up and execution. My copper pot gave me some gorgeous results on testers that were not replicated in the final pieces. My indigo was a vivid medium blue before it was washed. Oh! the joys of learning how to not be disappointed with experimenting and to go all in for any outcome! I gotta learn how to love the one-of-a-kind!
My favorites were the brazilwood with logwood overdye, a range of soft grays from alkanet in alum, and a steel blue with copper tones from the copper tests (not pictured). Still have to work out the kinks of properly dyeing with indigo, either that or change my expectation of indigo…whichever comes first.