Walnut dyeing results; stitched feather

The Black Walnut dyebath gave some wonderful color. The wool came out very rich; the silk is a soft tawny brown. Interesting facts re: this dye (from Michelle Wiplinger’s Natural Dye Instruction Book):

  • The dye is high in tannic acid, and is a substantive dye, so it does not need a mordant. Mordants can be used as color changers.
  • The rich browns develop with oxygen (indigo also required oxidation). So she recommends simmering the hulls for a couple of hours with an overnight cool-down before adding the fiber. I simmered the hulls about an hour with an overnight cool-down.



In between extracting the color and dyeing the cloth I stitched a magic feather for Jude’s inspiring Magic Feather Project. Background: a scrap of muslin – my natural pigment palette. I use scraps of muslin to offload the brush and test colors. When the scraps become lively with marks, scribbles and color I throw them in the scrap pile. I chose black and yellow for the feather because bumble bees and Goldfinches are now feeding on my fall flowers and seed heads! I also tried a kantha stitch with a rippled effect that I have often admired on the Spiritcloth blog.


Lunar calendar print part 3: still playing

I decided to add one more layer, a burnt sienna, over the rabbit portion of the calendar image. To do this, I placed my rabbit stencil under the glass and cut away the gelatin plate. I inked the remaining part, and lined up the print with a couple of strategically placed pieces of masking tape. No need for super-accurate registration — this is a very soft-edged process.


I still wonder if the paint will wash off the paper along with the rice paste resist. After curing it for several days, a bit of blue rubbed off on my damp finger, so I decided to mist it with soy milk, let it dry, then mist it again.  I will wait three days and wash it out on Wednesday Feb. 9.

Paper, rice paste, gelatin plate … lunar calendar in the making

I’m making a lunar calendar for 2011 — a little late … but wait …. there are still 12 full moons left in 2011!  This idea has been percolating for quite a while. I mocked up my design while I was visiting Maine this past October. My sister had found a great set of old brass stencil letters at a junk shop so we had to play with them! Here’s a peek at the design. I cut the moons from a stencil plastic.



I reduced the design by 50% to make it easier to handle for printing. The final image will be approximately 22″ x 9″. I’m using some Japanese Kozo from Wet Paint Art. I cut the stencil from a tyvek mailing envelope. I didn’t want to use shibugami paper. The tyvek is easy to cut with an Xacto, but not as delicious to work with as shibugami. Tyvek, like shibugami, is nearly waterproof.


Below is the first stage of the calendar after “printing” the rice paste. Keep in mind that the paste masks the color of the paper and will prevent the color from reaching it. I used strips of tape on my carpet table as an alignment guide for the paper, and also taped the top edge of the stencil down to the carpet.



When the paste dries it makes the paper buckle a little, but this is not a problem. I am printing the calendar with a gelatin plate. I’m using my hand as a baren, to smooth the paper onto the plate, ensuring that the paper reaches the ink. The ink in this case is opaque watercolor, which I have thinned with a few drops of soy milk.



Today I printed the 2nd layer of paste, using my small rabbit stencil for this “Year of the Rabbit.”

On Friday I’ll post the final stages and the final print. If all goes well, I’ll give away one print in a drawing and put the rest on my shop.