Birch bark dye results, Rabbits revealed

My birch bark dye experiment didn’t result in pink. I got a rather pale, warm, gold-ish parchment color. (Birchment?) I like it. I’m sure there are so many variables with plant dyeing, not the least of which is my inexperience dyeing with raw plants. The age of the tree (old in this case), soil, mordants, dirt, temperature of the water, time, etc. The silk organza at the top of the photo took on the most color. The linen on the right took on the least. These will ultimately be over-dyed.

silks and linen dyed with birch bark

I washed the paste out of my rabbit design yesterday . Here’s a peek.

Rabbits, Moons, Greens © Kit Eastman

Creating a spiral

Beginning this project, I wanted to use some of the many small dyed and printed pieces, which I had also used in the 3 two-layered pieces (Symmetry, Remembered Contours, Matrix/Mourning Doves).

Working with the the golden spiral I hand-pieced two rectangles to approximate the geometry of this fascinating form. Fabric is so forgiving of the imprecise!

Growth through self-accumulation
Growth through self-accumulation

and another….

Finding the eye
Finding the eye

I created a stencil tracing the line of the spiral with a series of dots getting smaller and smaller (using my Japanese punch), and then both discharged and rice paste resisted the pattern; with a wash of turquoise dye paint in between. The mis-registration of the stencil created little mini-lunar eclipses and double-dots.

Working outside (and inside)

July 15th — and I’ve finally set up a way to stretch my work in our little old gazebo. (Both sides of my basement are full of stretched work at the moment, so this is a helpful way to work on more pieces simultaneously.) This evening I’m soy sizing some small pieces (zig-zagged together making a long piece).

Sailboat cleats screwed into the wood secure the harite (stretchers), but that’s my brush hanging there.

Many moons ago I painted these vintage linen napkins with Earthhues natural dye extracts (logwood and madder) thickened with gum tragacanth. I was aiming for some background visual texture. They were disappointing to me so I tucked them away. Then, earlier this summer using some of my small stencils, I pasted-then-dipped, pasted-then-dipped them a few times in indigo. Now I like them. The under layer of dye peeks through in certain places.

The soy sizing will prevent any crocking. I will probably paint some darker indigo pigment highlights on them.