Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Adventures in Natural Dyeing

With heavy hearts the children waved goodbye to their British grandparents last week. We see them regularly and they were with us for two weeks but it is never enough for the children. We all really needed a pick me up so we got in the car and made our way to the lovely Tisserie at Branderion, a small but delightful little museum concerned with fibre, textiles and weaving. 

Homeschooling Fibre, weaving, spinning, knitting
All the different animals who provide us with fiber
Homeschooling fibres and textiles
Really fun guess the animal fibre baskets

I'd signed the children and I up for a natural dyeing workshop and we weren't disappointed. Not only was the welcome warm and the museum's exhibition interesting, the workshop itself delighted everyone. We were eight participants and we covered three forms of natural dye, cochineal (cochenille en fran├žais), indigo and leaves. 

For the first two we experimented with tie-dying using elastic bands and dye baths. 
Homeschooling : dyeing with cochineal
Noah and Maya watch the bugs leak their dye!

For the cochineal, the dried bugs were mixed with boiling water, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda before we placed material samples, one wool, one cotton in the dye bath and left them to soak until the end of the workshop. 

The indigo bath was already prepared. We took it in turns to dip in aprons which we'd contorted with elastic bands. The later batches initially displayed an acid green colour alongside the dark blue but this faded as the aprons dried. 

Homeschooling : dyeing with indigo
Noah dips his apron in the Indigo
Indigo dye bath
Maya's turn
Indigo dyeing with under 5s
And last but not least, Lotta

For the third technique we picked fresh leaves outside and then after placing the leaves under a thin piece of cotton, used a hammer to release their dye. The material was then placed in a special bath with a fixing agent. 

Homeschooling leaf dyeing
Take the leaves
Homeschooling natural dyes
Place the thing material over them
Homeschooling hammer dyeing
And hammer...

The children were really delighted with all the results especially the aprons. The leaf dying really surprised them and they are very eager to try this again at home with other leaves as well as flowers (I'll keep you posted!). 

Indigo tie-dyed apron
The big reveal to Noah's delight
Indigo tie-dyed aprons
Apron's drying

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