Tag Archives: Plant

Flourishing butterbur Beavers woke up Full moon in three days


In this magical time of the year when Nature unveils itself, the most conspicuous recent traces of change around my usual routes just turned into a Haiku style blank verse and appeared as a title of this post.


Everything in nature resting during the winter, got charged up to come out as the earth is waking up in spring. Flowering Butterbur stock (Petasites vulgaris) gives the river bank a bit of a look of a Martian landscape. Butterbur extract may prevent migraine headaches, they say. Doctors do not know exactly how butterbur prevents migraines, they say. And this, in addition to many medicinal properties of this plant. 


Spring is all about light. Everything around is opening up and shaking free from winter dormancy. Especially beavers! Beavers do not hibernate, but are less active during winter.


Obviously beavers are embracing the freedom of spring after a long winter. On my spring exploratory excursion, I encountered a well-built beaver lodge, one I hadn’t known about before.


Beavers’ ability to change the landscape is second only to humans. their favorite foods include water lily tubers, apples and the leaves and green bark (cambium) from aspen and other fast-growing trees. Tree cutting is part of nature’s cycle, and beaver pruning stimulates willows, cottonwood and aspen to regrow bushier than ever the next spring. 


Again  we become part of the process of re-creation that is occurring during the season of Springtime! And speaking of being a part of creative process, I just happened to meet these amazing people deeply fascinated by poetry in Haiku style. Haiku poetry was originally developed by Japanese poets. I have been always admiring brevity and imagistic language in haiku which makes you feel connected to nature. Haikus are often inspired by nature, a moment of beauty, or poignant experience… And on the other hand, writing haiku provides a new way to look at the world… 

I am so proud that the first issue of Haiku Port Quarterly 1/2018  was published with my participation.  And on the other hand, writing haiku provides a new way to look at the world… 


Flourishing butterbur

Beavers woke up

Full moon in three days




Euca Works

In my childhood the most popular home remedy for cough was inhalation of eucalyptus vapors obtained either from the oil, or from the dried plant material from the drug store. Ever since then, this method has seemed to me the most pleasantly smelling physiotherapy.

As an adult textile artist I found that dyeing with eucalyptus is quite popular midst the Natural Dyers – no wonder, those nice red to orange prints are so tempting with their vividness on the background of not-so-easy-to-get bright colors from the other natural materials.

Driven by my natural curiosity, not that long ago, I started looking for a chance to try this exotic dye material myself. Since I live in a hundred perсent eauca-free environment, I was somewhat restricted in sources for the testing material.

My very first experiments with euca happened to have unexpected results, if not frustrating. Not only did they bring my childhood memories of the multiple chest colds, but they also differed dramatically  from what was promised by the highly praised source.

Gradually my childhood memories shifted to more pleasant tonality, and I started to get some understanding about cause and effect:

The main fact to be taken into consideration is that the euca is not a local plant for this area. Thus, various plant material, dry or fresh, sprout or mature, from any of the 700 eucalyptus species, are unobtainable. Which means the main condition of getting truly amazing results is infeasible.

Step by step, pulling my theoretical knowledge and summarising my further practical results, I seem to have finally figured out the essence of the matter for myself.

While the most of the Natural Dyes are adjective, and we need hardly mention that chemistry rules here, the dye obtained from eucalyptus is substantive, i.e. the one that dissolves in water. This means that you can get color from eucalyptus simply by processing the plant material with water.  

The reason for not getting the right color, or no coloris having the wrong (of all the 700 species) euca type  as the dyeing material. By the type I mean both wrong specie and/or wrong part of the plant. As simple as that. And no magical recipe ( I hoped so much to find one!).

Any additives to the process can only enhance the present dyeing quality, but it is not possible to switch, say, from no-color to red. This conclusion I got based on my practical drills so far.   Now I am glad I can render some visualization here.              

 I have been lucky to get various euca species plant material at my possession, so I decided not to miss this opportunity and run a comparative  visual test, which I think might be of interest for the guys who do not have euca in their list of endemic plants.

For the test:     I have chosen sample leaves according to my understanding. Considering the shape, size, etc. of the leaves and branches, one can tell these are different species. No taxonomic classification, sorry!

The clear water with salinity as low, as 61 mg/dm3,  was boiled and poured over the leaves (the TDS measured with the meter). The leaves were left for as short as 3 to 5 min, just to cool down enough to put my fingers into. No mordants or modifies used.

I took a piece of viscose for this test, as it is known to be the most difficult surface to treat with natural dyes, as it has the least affinity for the plant dyes. I assumed that obtaining distinct prints that way would not be possible and I wanted to skip the prints part, as nice euca prints are already a well-known phenomenon today. And my idea for this test was to observe a substantive dye extraction and not be carried away by the artistic part.

01euc 03euc 04euc

As it is seen from the pix above some leaves are just over full with dye; it looks like the dye is already there on the surface. Some are just neutrally colored. 

The following was actually a surprise! Meaning, I assumed the dye should be easily obtained. But, Gee, that was fast!

In less than 2 min a leaf started bleeding bright red color! A minute later another specie bled vivid orange… What can I say? The expriment could have been terminated right there, for I got the proof for my guess-work.

05euc 06euc 07euc

The neutrally colored leaves below did not yield any dye ever; even after 1,5 h simmering there was no coloring effect worth mentioning.

Meanwhile, the dye extraction continued and more of the leaves yielded their red and orange shades on the cloth; no heat applied or anything.

And this only after a few minutes spent in hot water! What about an hour or a day soaking? Unbelievable!

08euc 09euc 10euc 11euc 12euc 13euc 14euc 15euc

All the above pix were taken before simmering, during a really short period of time from 7 to 15 minutes, I guess, when I was taking the leaves out of the water they were soaking in and arranging them on the cloth surface.

This, usually preliminary part of the dyeing process, in this case turned out to be a most informative and obvious and I decided it states the point all-right. So, I am skipping the after-simmering illustration.

Well, I assume that the above enlightenment  along with my sheer amazement, looks probably ridiculous to the guys who grew under the shade of the euca tree forest.

If I were a child of such forest, or at least had an eucalyptus tree or two in the area near by, I would definitely stick to the euca species as my major dyeing plant!

But, as the Reality stipulates otherwise, I am getting back to my lovely local endemics, not so approachable at times, but surely so promising

SecretsJealouslyGuarded, or the Jersey Dress Dyeing Session

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Hi, Guys!

Reading about the History of Textiles and learning about the role of professional Guilds in the Medeval society I came across with this notion:

jealously guarded dye recipes

and I just liked the words combination!

Anyway, I have given some thinking as to why I enjoy so much sharing my findings and results with like-minded persons? As to some reason for me it is the second amusement after the art making process itself. Why so?

Maybe, these findings and stuff coming free much like the Inspiration comes, and hence what is freely given should be shared the same way?

Have not yet come up with any firm idea as for that so far…

In the meanwhile I have some nice pics of the process and some determination to share my experience, if there is anybody wondering how I got that dress dyed!

The Jersey Dress

The Jersey Dress

The Jersey Dress

and the process it turned out the way it is

First of all, the plant material I used for this dyeing session

Dry Cotinus Leaves

Dry Cotinus Leaves
Catalpa Leaves

Catalpa Leaves

Strawberry Leaves

Strawberry Leaves


The dry Cotinus leaves I gathered in the past November and kept all this time in a plastic bag, in a few bags actually. They seem to be doing well in plastic, so no need to bother and press them within a book, time and space saving!

The Catalpa leaves I gathered close to my house and pressed them in the magazine for a week or so before using. These definitely should be pressed flat and dried a bit before utilizing, much better colour yielding that way!

My mom’s strawberry leaves taken fresh from the plants.

Here it should be noted that everything was soaked in water the night before the dyeing session.

Plant Material

Plant Material

Some other plants/flowers were added the same day.

There are some Fern leaves ans Walnut leaves in the bucket and some Flowers.

Would you, please, excuse the lack of the flowers’ definition! 

I am sure the flowers are recognizable;

I’d only note that the orange ones are not much of an effect in terms of color and printing.

The Oak Barrel

The Oak Barrel

This is my Tannins Source, the oak barrel where I keep the water for some of my projects.

I did not use the tannin water for this project though.

Just wanted to show off  my barrel!

The Start

The Start


The Start

The Start

Feeling as usually the Uncertainty of the Starting Point!

As our dear colleague Pat Vivod has recently noted at her FB page ,

I can stare at things a LONG time before I take the plunge.

Thanks, Pat, it’s good to know I am not an exception in this regard!

The Materials

The Materials

A Note on the Process:

The Jersey Dress is 100% cotton and it’s been pretreated with Soy flower mixed with water about a month before the dyeing session.

The soaked plant material I spread out over a cloth to get rid of the extra moisture before further utilization.


The Leaves Drying

The Leaves Drying

I spent about 10 eggs for this project!

Laying out the Leaves

Laying out the Leaves

The plant material was subsequently dipped into the egg yolk and placed on the fabric.

I have to admit that after first 5 eggs I quit separating yolks, and was utilizing the whole egg!

Laying out the Leaves

Laying out the Leaves

Laying out the Leaves

Laying out the Leaves

This was one time consuming process, I’m telling you!

Laying out the Leaves

Laying out the Leaves

Laying out the Leaves

Laying out the Leaves

After all it was rolled over a copper pipe, simmered in the buckwheat shells dye bath at the temp 80C for about 1,5 hours.

Please, don’t ask why the buckwheat shells! I just happened to have a bag full of those and decided to give it a try…

Left outdoors for another 10-12 days.

And this is the result you may see:

The Jersey Dress

The Jersey Dress

The Jersey Dress

The Jersey Dress

The Jersey Dress

The Jersey Dress

The Jersey Dress

The Jersey Dress

The Jersey Dress

The Jersey Dress

The Jersey Dress!

The Jersey Dress!




Ревностно хранимые секреты красильщиков! – Или одно трикотажное платье в работе.


Всем доброго времени! Читая об истории Текстиля и роли профессиональных гильдий в средневековом обществе, я обнаружила следующее определение: «ревностно охраняемые рецепты крашения» – интересно.

Задумалась, отчего же мне так нравится делиться своими находками? Поняла,  со Средневековьем меня ничто не связывает.


Теперь о трикотажном платье.


На фото представлен весь процесс, в результате которого у меня получился такой дизайн поверхности.


Платье из х/б трикотажа;

Растительный материал: листья скумпии, катальпы, клубники;


Листья скумпии были засушены в прошлом ноябре, хранились в полиэтиленовом пакете; листья катальпы я собрала недалеко от дома за неделю до крашения и держала в книге; листья клубники – прямо с маминой грядки.

Весь растительный материал был замочен накануне вечером, кроме цветов. Отмечу, что от оранжевых цветов (текома) в результате толку было мало.


В ведре листья папоротника и грецкого ореха.


Надеюсь, все растения узнаваемы, и можно простить отсутствие лат. названий!


Дубовая бочка – мой источник насыщенной танинами воды!


Итак, все подготовлено, и можно начинать. Платье предварительно, за месяц, было обработано разведенной в воде соевой мукой. Замоченный растительный материал разложен на тряпке, чтобы удалить избыток воды, прежде чем окунать в яичный желток и раскладывать по поверхности платья. На все ушло 10 яиц, после первых 5-ти я отказалась отделять желтки и использовала все яйцо.


Весь процесс раскладывания листьев и складывания платья оказался очень длительным!


В конце концов, окончательная версия была накручена на упор в виде медной трубки и после этого тушилась в ванне из гречневой шелухи при t=80C около 1,5 ч. и в дальнейшем была выдержана 10-12 дней на воздухе.


Получившийся результат вы можете видеть!




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