I didn’t even intend to make dye this time, but I can’t help myself. This week was time to trim down the leaves from our irises, and as they were cooking down in soda ash, a step in hand papermaking that separates organic matter from the cellulose fibres that form the paper, I noticed that the water had turned a beautiful strong green colour. A bell went off when I realized that soda ash is also used to set dyes. Once the cellulose pulp was drying on a screen, I strained the remaining liquor and threw in some cotton fabrics, some premordanted with aluminum acetate and some with soy milk, and this glorious spring green was the result.
It’s not a good idea to leave fabric piled in a printmaking studio drying rack, otherwise this could happen: