4.7.11

Ice Flowers

lobelias
scroll

I thought I was growing them for a bit of easy colour but not for dyeing. And then I remembered India Flint's ice-flowers recipe from Eco Colour...

The darkest lobelias went into the freezer for a day and then were wrapped in silk mordanted in alum. My favourite results were from a bundle where the fabric was dry, the only moisture provided by the melting flowers.

It made an interesting repeating pattern, a sort of abstract floral print. It was intense purple until I decided to soak it in a bath of alum as a post-mordant. Then some of the colour floated away and the rest took on a greenish tinge.

pattern
abstract floral

I gather that all the pinks and purples are chemically anthocyanins. There's a good chapter about them in Dominique Cardon's Natural Dyes. Not the most stable of dyes but very interesting to play with. I stuck a dyed piece on the window to see just how light-sensitive it is.

There are a couple more bundles on the go. To be continued...

16 comments:

leFiligree said...

that's a lovely repeat pattern. are you going to keep it as-is, or keep experimenting?

Drucilla Pettibone said...

i tried iced pansies recently, and they were beautiful until i added a wood ash mordant. now i need more pansies! i'm excited to see more of your experiments!

alma said...

Do you think the purple colours would stay intense if you didn't soak the piece of cloth in alum mordant before or after?
Thanks for showing this beauty!

Eva said...

leFiligree - I'm keeping this one but am trying to replicate it (won't soak it in the mordant afterwards next time)

Drucilla - oh, pansies would be great. I'd love to try all those black/purple flowers too. It seems mordants don't always improve them.

alma - these colours have a reputation for fading and they also change with the pH. I'm dyeing more purples and will try them for light-fastness.

nicole said...

Ooh, I love these flower "ghosts".

kaiteM said...

did you heat set the intense purple before post-mordanting it?

Sandie said...

Lovely, delicate pattern.
Will that be permanent now?

Sandie xx

liniecat said...

Lobelia spooned onto alum pfd cloth works well too. Do it like flower pounding but sue the back poart of the spoons bowl, fiddly but very pretty too!
I use a mordant before rather than after

Eva said...

nicole - yes, fabric haunted by flowers :)

kaiteM - I think I may have ironed it but didn't steam it or anything like that

Sandie - thanks! With dyeing, I don't think there's really such a thing as permanent... but I'll test it in the sun for a few weeks and see if it lasts reasonably well

liniecat - thanks for the tip!

Therese said...

Hi Eva,

Love your ice flower dyeing experiments. i have just put some poppies into ice cube trays for experimentation.
Can I ask where you purchase your silk from? I've run out of my college bought supply and desperately need more, cant find any in my local shops.
Therese
ps. hope you keeping well

Eva said...

Therese - I've got some poppies in the freezer too :) Sometimes there's more dyestuff than food in there.
I've bought silk from Whaleys Bradford a few times.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Eva.

Marchi Wierson said...

Thanks eva for the link to anthocyanins. very interesting! I am going to look at Dominique Cardon's Natural Dyes too.

Kit said...

Beautiful results! I will share this post with my local Minnesota/Wisconsin natural dye group. Thank you!

Suzanne said...

I love these flowers!

iNd!@nA said...

the funny thing is that here in South Australia, a pre-soak in a very weak alum mordant would shift the initial purple to deep blue.
but after three years of so of occasional gentle laundering, my ice-flower silks gradually turn apple green. i think it's due to the sodium carbonate [aka washing soda] that's in most detergents