Tag Archives: dyeing process

Winter Coloring/ Зимние Этюды

One can never be bored with Natural Dyeing process. Because the process rests upon way too many variables. A single variable switches its value, and here you go, a brand new effect! Even if you think you know a lot, you cannot get too much of dyeing practice. Especially with Contact Dyeing, as Socrates once said, The more you know, the more you realize you know nothing.

My way of contact dye extraction I compare to espresso coffee making: fast, hot, full-flavoured. The right pressure and temperature are the keys to the process. My little invention to distribute pressure equally onto the working surfaces, which is described here and here, also proves to be a fabulous space saver.


With this much of place that a long sleeved T-shirt occupies, I can pretty much do three at a time and make use of this precious time saver!  

10botfebMy new old pressure cooker. This way I can comfortably do some Winter time natural dye extraction indoors.

02botfeb 03botfeb

This tear-opens easily, stays free of bath impurities, and I like the transparent surface, because I am naturally curious.

04botfeb 07botfeb

Also, it kind of remembers the form, until you start unrolling…

05botfeb 06botfeb

In Winter I use my stored dry leaves. I store plenty. And now, as I am removing them from cloth, it brings up the memories of the days I was picking leaves… Maybe it is because of the flavour and the warmth of the cloth the moment it opens.


The wet thing is left to drip for a while, and then it goes to the washing machine.

09botfebNow, this is washed and dry and ready to wear 🙂


Занимаясь натуральным крашением, соскучиться невозможно. Весь процесс зиждется на переменных, изменение одной приводит к возникновению неожиданного эффекта. И значение богатого практического опыта крашения нельзя переоценить, даже при наличии глубоких теоретических познаний. Как свидетельствовал Сократ, “чем больше я знаю, тем больше понимаю, что не знаю ничего”.

Свой метод контактной экстракции я сравниваю с эспрессо кофеприготовлением: быстро, горячо и ароматно. Ключевые условия – правильное давление и такая же температура. Мое небольшое изобретение для равномерного распределения давления в процессе экстракции, оно описано здесь и здесь, также позволяет сэкономить большое количество рабочего пространства. Например, уместить трикотажную футболку с длинным рукавом таким образом, что в кастрюле разместятся еще три такие же. Вместо обычной кастрюли теперь можно использовать особую! Маленькую и быструю, что весьма удобно зимой.

Пластик легко срывается, а ткань под ним остается держать его форму, пока не начнешь разворачивать. Еще, мне нравится прозрачная поверхность – можно подсмотреть, что внутри. Зимой я использую сухие заготовленные листья. У меня их много. Когда открываешь еще теплую ткань и снимаешь каждый лист, вдруг вспоминаются летние дни… Наверно, это тепло ткани и аромат трав… Затем мокрую вещь оставляю стекать не на долго, а затем в стирку. Выстиранная и высушенная, готова к использованию 🙂

Upgrading Store Clothes/ Апгрейд Готового Платья

Utilization of Dyeing with plants method is a known thrill when it comes to introducing personality to store clothes. It works perfectly considerably due to the fact, that you are getting resuls from the Work of Nature, which is unmistakable and flawless.

The dyer acts just as a medium here, getting a thrill of opening the fabtics to the resuts.

I wanted to catch this moment with my camera, taking slowly each step as the Nature reveals its work in between the layers of fabric and leaves.

And there is something about it, not just that it is an OOAK peice of clothing you own, but it feels like you have a significant proof of your bond with the Nature, a protective shield that you’re wearing.

thr01 thr02 thr03 thr04 thr05 thr06 thr07 thr08 thr09 thr10 thr11

Метод крашения листьями сложно переоценить, когда речь идет о превращении массового в индивидуальное. И тут дело не в том, что на готовый предмет наносится некий штучный дизайн. Дело в том, что наносит его Природа, как свойственно ей, безошибочно и точно. Красильщик – только передаточное звено в этом процесс; он получает свою порцию восторга, когда разворачивает ткани.

Я постаралась с помощью фото передать захватывающий момент, когда перед тобою неторопливо разворачивается и предстает нерукотворное творение.

Что-то однозначно в этом есть, и это не только и не столько факт появления неповторимого дизайна, это как-будто в руках у тебя оказывается непосредственное свидетельство связи с природой, некая незримая защита, если хотите, не просто элемент одежды.

My Garden List: Strawberry

Now when the Spring is close enough, it is time to get back to my garden, my true place of inspiration and enjoyment!

Located amidst the Southern Dunes, veiled in the spicy air of pine-tree forest.

That’s where I favoured the Natural dye-stuffs once and for all. And this is where my seasonal open-air batik and dyeing studio is situated.

Having been so much captivated by the process of printing with plant material on textiles I, however, learnt that the most of quite scarce available information on the subject features mainly plant material which is exotic for this area. And my creative process is strongly bound with that land of the Dunes, inspirationally and resource-wise.

So, following the concept of the local resource development, after sufficient familiarization with some exotic exponents, I got back to my trivial natural objects with renewed vigour to estimate their potential for my good.

– and who can learn enough about his local phenomena of the Nature! –  

My today’s List of the Day starts with Strawberry!    

That’s because I love it big time! Wild strawberry, both berries and leaves, are important ingredients for my herb tea recipe. And leaves from any type of strawberry are great for printing.


For the test I took

  • strawberry leaves, nice ones
  • a plain piece of silk, no mordants used
  • a wooden stick to wind around
  • a brass pot

So, it is just strawberry leaves and silk, no mordants used before or after; simmered in the brass pot for about 2 hours and left for 10 days unopened.

Please, watch the results!


These pictures do justice to the printed fabric sample, there both nice light-green areas alternating with distinct pink ones.

And can you see a heart pattern there! 

BTW, I am eating strawberries while writing!

Well, I can say that this one makes an excellent demo of Strawberry potential!

More entries to my Garden List on the way.



Весна подошла вплотную – самое время вернуться в свой сад!

cредь Южных дюн и соснового леса.

Здесь, в саду, моя сезонная батиковая мастерская; здесь работается как нигде хорошо, и здесь все ресурсы под рукой –прямо под ногами. Тут я обнаружила натуральные красители однажды, на них же и остановилась.

Веяние последних лет в области натурального – Эко Принт, процесс контактной экстракции натурального красителя прямо на окрашиваемую поверхность – на самом деле не так уж хорошо и подробно описан. Чаще всего в отношение Эко Принта встречаются упоминания экзотических растений, никакого отношения не имеющих к моей эко-системе. Это огорчает, потому что процесс контактной экстракции натурального красителя меня очень увлекает.

К слову, это определение получилось у меня на ходу. Надеюсь, теоретически мощно подкованные коллеги могут такое принять.

Этот самый процесс имеет столько переменных, просчитать достоверно которые невозможно и от которых драматически зависит итог крашения, и вероятно самый верный путь к его пониманию – это многократное повторение наибольшего количества вариантов, сделанное своими руками, на своих материалах, в своих специфических условиях, и т.д.

Собственно, уже имея определенное знание этого процесса, я и начала вести этот блог как некий дополнительный метод упорядочить свои результаты и поделиться тем, что уже знаю, с теми, кому это интересно.

Я твердо убеждена, что нужно в первую очередь знать и использовать свои местные ресурсы. Поэтому, вволю наработавшись с экзотическими материалами, я с двойной решимостью возвращаюсь к своим землякам, чтобы еще раз пройти по списку и обратить внимание на их потенциал.

Первой в списке выступает Клубника!

А также земляника, неотъемлемый ингредиент моего травяного чая.

В опыте участвуют: кусок натурального шелка, листья клубники, латунный таз и деревянная палочка, на которую наматывается образец, переложенный листьями; варю все около двух часов и не разматываю около 10 дней. Протравы никакие не применяю, Ph не меняю; вода дистиллированная.

Результаты – прошу обозреть фотографии выше. Должна сказать, что фото действительно близки к реальности: просто очаровательная комбинация светло-зеленого и розового. Каким-то образом сложился орнамент в виде сердечка! Это меня от души порадовало.

В следующих постах – далее по списку из моего сада.

А также, я продолжу редактировать предыдущие посты, добавляя часть на русском.

Приглашаю всех, кому интересна эта тема, к диалогу! Оставляйте, пожалуйста, свои комментарии, даже если это просто “спасибо” или “привет”!! 

The Time Factor: a Day versus Two Months

As we all are aware of the extreme importance of the Time in the dyeing process, an awfully generalized instruction ‘The longer the time, the better the results” is very often applied, especially by the newbies, to all stages of the process unquestioningly and with no doubts

Some novices are certain that the reason for not getting the right color and/or print is them having been impatient and not letting the roll of dyed fabric sit for too long…

Of course, Time and Temperature are the two key factors of the dyeing process!

But there are also such inputs, as fibers condition, plant material quality, mordants, length of bath after all… Though the last value is the least popular aspect I’d say… All these and quite a few other things may influence the outcome. 

Nevertheless, the question that I am asked more often is about Time! Specifically about that sort of the Time which, say, starts right after you take off your pot from the heat source and ends up when you open the dyed fabric.

To finally separate the wheat from the chaff and not to rely upon the random outcome, I decided to run a comparative test to see how the Curing Time affects the result of the dyeing process in terms of the color yield/intensity and the sharpness of the prints, if any. In this test I was going to estimate only the visible side of the deal, not dwelling upon the Colorfastness at this point.

Fabric: Two lengths of silk previously sandwiched in between rusty sheets of iron, sprinkled with vinegar and cured for up to one week.

Plant material:My local favs – Sumac, Cotinus, vine leaf, Prunus Padus, maple leaf.

Process: The fabric folded with plant material and steamed. One length was left overnight and opened the next day; the other was left for two months.

The Visual Part: the Fast and the Slow Piece

The Fast Piece

The Fast Piece

The Slow Piece

The Slow Piece

And here are some details of the Fast Piece:

Sumac Print in the Fast Piece

Sumac Print in the Fast Piece

Various Plant Material in the Fast Piece

Various Plant Material in the Fast Piece

An Outstanding Maple Leaf Print in the Fast Piece

An Outstanding Maple Leaf Print in the Fast Piece

The details of the Slow Piece:

Cotinus Print in the Slow Piece

Cotinus Print in the Slow Piece

Cotinus and Prunus Padus in the Slow Piece

Cotinus and Prunus Padus in the Slow Piece

Various Plant Material in the Slow Piece

Various Plant Material in the Slow Piece

Now as we see, there is a very distinct difference in these two pieces. Using my sight as the only measuring instrument assigned for this experiment, I can tell that

  • The background in the Fast Piece is whiter;
  • The background in the Slow Piece is more muted;
  • The multicolor palette achieved in the Fast Piece is bright and crisp;
  • The color combination in the Slow Piece is more of the earthy tones, yet clear and intense

Of course, I have just scratched the enormous area of the Time Factor in the Dyeing Practice, and to positively state any consistent pattern here one should have run numerous number of tests and experiments.

But at this point I come to conclusion that not only it is an illusion to believe that the longer curing time gives better results, there is NO universal recipe in terms of Time use;

Time is one of the variables of the dyeing process, altering which we can get varied results. 

More on Wash Fastness

As much as I enjoy obtaining refined and unique marks from the plant material on fabric I cannot but brood over the Wash Fastness aspect, especially when it comes to wearables.

The common advice that can be most often found regarding washing and caring for naturally dyed textiles, is to hand wash it in cold water, or use a gentle cycle in the washing machine.

In my practice with natural dyestuffs I tend to meticulously run my own experiments to see how the same recipe/regularity works for me. Well, the moment I got my very first satisfying dyed pattern on a wearable item I immediately put on considering cap:

How long a garment treated with the natural dyes will serve before the increasing color fading from the multiple washes finally gives it an unappealing look?

Provided, of course, that the garment has been properly treated with mordants, as well as that the dyeing process has been carried out aptly.

07 08 09

For the silk accessories and such, the washing matter does not look as much uncertain as for the sportswear for instance. 

I really would have doubts as for a jersey T-shirt and a gentle washing cycle… Well, maybe I am just too lazy to consider a hand-wash, or is it just that I know that you cannot give a quality wash to a jersey T-shirt without presoaking it, which will definitely affect the natural dyes. So, why not give a try to a conventional washing then?

Still wearing the same considering cap, I got a dyed jersey shirt:





I decided to wear it on a regular basis from the moment I finished working on it last September, and throw it into the washing machine with the rest of my light-colored laundry; I used my usual detergent, Persil most of the time, for cotton fabrics.

These are some close-ups of the shirt pattern right after dyeing:

12 13 15

And now after three months and 15 to 18 washes, this is what I end up with at this moment:

01 02 03 04 05 06

Not sure how much obvious it really is from the pics, but the background color retains its corn-colored hue; while the bluish marks from the tannins have shifted towards brown color, as the result of their exposure to the high Ph of the washing powder.

Well, at this point my shirt still works for me. Which is fine. I’ll keep my further records on the gradual color shift and/or loosing color of this item.

Determining the point when the T-shirt starts looking toneless will surely give the better idea about the general shelf-life of my naturally-dyed clothes, which is essential info to be labeled on my naturally dyed collection.

So, dear colleagues, and what advice do you label your naturally dyed wearables with?


A blog about Textile Artist Tamsyn Gregory, designwork, home and outings.

albedo too

more chronicles of concupiscientia oculorum

Rayela Art

Creative Entrepreneur, Rachel Biel

The Pale Rook

Textile Art by Johanna Flanagan

Janice Paine Dawes, Artist

Art, Antiques, Upcycling, Life

Obovate Designs™

My dabbling and exploration in contact printing, natural dyeing, and soap making


This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

Priscilla Edwards


Local & Bespoke

think globally, craft locally

Sea Green and Sapphire

A blog about textiles and colour

Friends... French... France...

A topnotch WordPress.com site

h..... the blog

a blog of art, photography and all the adventures inbetween

Down to Earth

bits and snippets on fiber, mud and life as I know it

Ecofren F & B Community

Blog is about yummy,delicious,tasty....it includes food reviews,food history, recipes, reports and food fun.

Danny Mansmith

picture diary

The Little Green Dress Projekt

Wear it and Compost it

Natural Dye Workshop with Michel Garcia and Sustainable Dye Practice

A film series and discussion forum dedicated to the science and practice of natural dyes and pigments using sustainable methods.


Fibre Art, Eco Printing, Natural Dyeing, Book Arts

Crazy Coats of Many Colors

Using Crazy Quilt Techniques


On your birthday: count your candles, count your years, count your blessings.


a Photo Blog, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to dear dirty New York

%d bloggers like this: