Friday, 14 June 2013

que?


opening the mail this morning i nearly choked on my porridge
when i read the unequivocal statement below


while the second sentence is true,
my response to the first was quite simply "bollox".

if you don't know what that means, good.
if you do, be assured that i have put a gold-coloured coin into the swear jar.

the reason green is traditionally considered to be a "difficult to achieve" colour is quite simply because of the way the plants have been processed.
most water supplies contain at least a little sodium
which tends to make everything yellow.

if you're lucky enough to live in Philadelphia
or G├Âttingen or other places where the water is rich in calcium; or if your water comes from a copper-rich bore/well then you'll be familiar with beautiful greens too
 or you could go play at Mount Tamborine
where the climate and soil and magic-in-the-air gave us lovely greens

there's an old Japanese dyeing family whose name sadly escapes me for now
but you could google them if you had half an hour to spare, Dr something-beginning-with-K
spoke at the UNESCO dye conference in Hyderabad in 2006
and i distinctly recall him showing slides of the 167 repeatable and named 
shades of green that his family could dye to order
[i'm pretty sure there must be either copper or calcium or both in their water]
their sample books go back over six or seven generations.


the samples above were dyed at Gore, New Zealand
and here's a link to the process we used at Warrnambool, Victoria

bundle-dyeing or ecoprinting [much the same thing]
is by far the best way to achieve greens
as the outside of the bundle acts as a filter
so what reaches the inside is relatively pure steam
without nasties that will dull the greens or change them to gold

and if you've pre-soaked your cloth
in a diluted copper+vinegar solution 
[NOT copper sulphate, it is toxic and corrosive]
success is guaranteed.

now that i've got that off my chest
i'll clear up the mess of spluttered porridge
and get back to the dyepot...

its contents have to be packed and on a plane on Tuesday.

31 comments:

  1. Yes! I've gotten greens too. Quite by accident, as with most things that come out of my dye pot.

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  2. I too have gotten some lovely greens. None quite as vibrant as the bundles in your photo, I wonder if adding calcium carbonate to the dyepot would shift the colour if your water source was not naturally high in calcium. I may have to try dissolving some tums in the dyepot!

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    Replies
    1. seashells are another source of calcium...

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  3. I've turned all sorts of green shades myself.... but that's just from looking at all the delish-i-ous bundles of cauldron goodies that all you eco-dyers produce and wishing I could be there.....

    yeah I figure that doesn't really count.... bugger

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  4. Another good source for greens are red leaves. It all began when I dyed with Phragmites australis blooms. In late summer they are in full bloom and then the actual flower is reddish. You can dye protein fibres quite conventionally in a wonderful vibrant green and plant fibres in a somewhat lighter green. Then there is the true green you get without copper or calcium from red onion skins. And red plum leaves and basically a lot more red leaves dye a natural green. The only kind of green I didn't get naturally without overdyeing with indigo yet is a bottle green or blue green.
    And the reaction was quite justified ;O)

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    1. and a lot of greens can also be encouraged by the presence of aluminium [in the form of the cooking pot]...kanuka and manuka [in NZ] both turned a nice green [from the original pink] just sitting quietly in an aluminium bowl in a warm room

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  5. as an addendum: Phragmites australis is not a neophyte in Germany. Despite its name it's native and a very important plant for clearing water. And it is not endangered and propagates via root. And I have absolutely no idea why it had the byname 'australis'

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    Replies
    1. 'australis' is Latin for 'south' so it might still be a geographical reference, just a bit closer to home

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    2. this would be the simplest explanation. thank you *s*

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  6. Your samples from Gore in New Zealand constitute a work of art in themselves. So many beautiful shades of green!

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    1. they reflected local colour beautifully [nearly everything that grew was a luminous green]...and that was a splendid class in such a warm and welcoming community.

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  7. thank you for your greens and for mr. k-- family's too. i had a greening experience on arches just last week, and guess where from? little red windfall leaves from an ornamental tree as yet unidentified. and copper. what i like best is that someone's pontificating brings teacher india away from her breakfast and into the ethers with a lesson!

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  8. i often get greens in the copper pot, but never knowing quite why because i am not too much of an expert.

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    Replies
    1. i don't consider myself an expert either, just a slightly awed observer of small miracles...

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  9. Having recently moved to New Mexico, I got my best green from plunking in some red onion skins into a little copper pot, filling with tap water, letting a piece of cotton treated with alum just soak away. Never managed to get a good green when I lived in TN so it has to be the local water here in New Mexico.

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    Replies
    1. have a look around the bathroom for clues...in an older house, you'll find tell-tale greens on the enamel in the toilet boil [especially if the cistern has a slight leak] or in the bath

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  10. In Maine, I am overwhelmed with greens! Love them!

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  11. Our local group of dyers came up with a swell green last fall by using carrot tops in an aluminum pot filled with well water, with the addition of a copper [penny] & vinegar additive [aged one month] ... gave us a lovely sage green. That being said, we have yet to achieve the *brightness* of those greens above.

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    Replies
    1. the older the copper penny, the brighter the green...i have a feeling that 1982 is the year that US pennies were no longer minted in pure copper? processing at a simmer rather than a boil also helps keep greens bright

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    2. ahhhh, most definitely could have overcooked them. Will adjust to a simmer next time.
      But we got the pennies right - all pre-1982!

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  12. I love your knowledge India and it's nice to see so many others coming here to share their stories... I like that I've learnt something that never would have crossed my mind... with the water. I've been to Gottingen and never would have imagined their water was rich in calcium... what healthy bones they must all have!

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    1. the insides of their kettles are all coated with the stuff that stalagmites and stalactites are made of...not sure about the bones.

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  13. Yes, I believe that date on the penny is correct. I'm happy to report my big copper pot made the cut and is now headed to New Mexico with the rest of my cache....

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  14. This time of year i get the most beautiful greens......
    with fluitekruid. I think its called cows parsley in english.

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  15. a joy to read and learn from the shared wisdom of experience - thank you all. Those green bundles are extraordinarily green - also admire the shape of the bundles look like sandwiches possibly wrapped with string - wonder what the results looked like..

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    Replies
    1. we melded shibori-zome techniques with ecoprint bundling so we had green leaf prints with lovely geometric patterns around them

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  16. Appreciate the tip regarding copper pot preservation. I found a copper pot that has a bowed bottom from water freezing in Winter at a junktique shop. How to use it as the bottom is rounded? Double boiler system will work perfectly. Thank you, India.

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  17. red onion skins give me a lovely green! surely most of you know that... so easily available!
    I also got green from dandelion leaves, but not as beautiful as the one from onion skin.

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  18. I just discovered that my beautiful copper kettle has its inside tinned! so that's why I didn't get green from the red onion skins I tossed in last night! do you think will my hard tap water will help or hinder (it comes from our chalk geology, but I think there's probably a bit of iron, judging by the scale in the loo)? its ph is normal, neither acid nor alkali, unlike my raintub water which is nicely soft and slightly acidic. I suppose I need to test properly ....

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  19. calcium tends to support greens, iron simply makes em darker!

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