I am writing about my process.
These are experiments. I do not claim that I know what I am doing.
Sometimes my experiments work.
I am inspired by the idea that natural dyers throughout time have experimented.
Put a large grocery bag full of onion skins into a big canning pot.
Pour boiling water over them until they are covered.
Allow this to steep and cool down over night.
The next day, bring the onion skin solution to a simmer and keep it there for 90 minutes.
Allow this to steep and cool down over night. Repeat if possible.
Remove the skins from the liquid.
In second pot of dye, add a jar full of iron solution.
The iron solution is Jenny Dean's recipe.
Into a wide glass jar with a lid place scrap iron (old nails, a small trivet, scrap metal)
Cover with solution made from two parts water and one part clear vinegar
Leave for at least two weeks. (I left mine for more than one year)
Protein Fibres work best with natural dyes (from animals (wool and silk)
Add wool and silk cloth as well as silk rayon velvet (see top photo)
No pre-soak or pre-mordant needed for these, the cloth was added dry
Gently bring cloth and dye up to a simmer for 90 minutes
Allow to do the steep and cool over night thing, two times preferably
Our house smelled like onion soup for a week and a half.
Just wring them and allow them to dry naturally
Fold gently and allow to rest for a few days
The colours of the protein fibres (wool and silk) are really rich
A nearly red rusty colour on the wool and velvet from the onion skins (above photo)
A deep olive greenish grey from the pot with the iron (see below)
To make linen and cotton ready to accept the natural dyes, I did a pre-soak over night in two litres of 2 percent milk from the grocery store. It was an experiment.
Wring out the milk and place the wet cloth into the dye baths
Bring to a simmer for 90 minutes. Steep over night.
Hung on the line without rinsing but after wringing/ (above photo cotton and linen with iron-onion
The dye bath itself was quite milky.
Although the colours were much paler, they were still really beautiful. (see below)
I am truly pleased with this experiment.
It took place while we carried on with our so called normal life.
Two loads in order to separate the iron fabrics from the pure onion
Dry in the dryer for added softness for the velvet.
The stains and natural markings on the cotton and linen remain.
This is how I study and how I learn.
This is what I know already.
I come to my practice with with curiosity and passion.
I am not trying to change anything.
I just want to learn more about the same things.