I have been dying cloth for my embroidery with tea for a long time but I first became interested in dying cloth with other natural materials when I was making my vegetable paper. I noticed that the brighter vegetables stained the pressing cloths, and some colour remained even after washing. And sometimes when I re-used the washed cloths the vegetable colour in the cloth would affect the colour of the new vegetable paper, so the veg dyed the cloth which in turn dyed the veg... A little while later I discovered India Flint and was completely awestruck by her work, if you don't know of her do go and check it out.
So I am going to do a series of experiments, bundling cloth with natural materials and other things that I collect (the shoreline turns up some interesting bits of rusty metal at times...). Cooking it, leaving it, maybe even burying it, I'm not expecting spectacular results, I'm just interested to see what happens. The bundles will be a personal record of my year. And since the best thing I can do with my bundles is be patient and leave them alone I hope the project will fit in with the madness that is my life at the moment!
I've started with a few leaves picked up in my local park, wrapped in some well worn upcycled cotton sheeting, some butter muslin and a piece of my wedding dress silk (what do you mean it's not normal to cut up your wedding dress?!)
They simmered away for a couple of hours in some (rather murky) rainwater in an old aluminium pan which I'm sure must have come from my grandmother, if not even from her mother. And now I shall leave them for a while. I wonder how long I can manage before I can't resist opening at least one little bundle?
And, I had some lovely roses for my birthday last week.