Combined with an introduction to felting, by Jane Bear, also from Colac, this was a full day workshop. I enjoyed the felt making, and was pleased with the felt bowl I created, but the repeated rolling of the wet fibres to make a small square of felt took a toll on me with my recovering spine, so I don’t think I will be doing that at home.
The eco-dying process uses natural oils from leaves, bark, peel, etc to create colourful patterns on natural fibers, without the use of added chemicals. In the workshop, Irene brought along a range of eucalyptus leaves, lemon peel, grape vine leaves, petals from various flowers, onion skins and a few other bits and pieces. We made patterns with these on swatches of pure wool, silk and watercolour paper.
Eco-dying avoids using chemicals as a mordant. In place of this, the fabric and paper are wrapped around items made from iron, copper or aluminium to fix the dye to the fabric through boiling them together for a couple of hours. The results are just stunning!
I intend to do some further exploration into eco-dying in 2020. The secret is to know which species of eucalypt will produce colour, and how strong the colour will be. It will be a hit and miss process, but with a bit of luck, I am hoping to produce some interesting patterns made with leaves from our property.