Memory Cloth(es)

It's hardly original but doesn't that sound wonderful? The more I learn about natural vs chemical dyeing, the clearer my ideas become.

For material and pieces to sell in galleries, I'll stick with chemical dyes for now, for the stability and relative colorfastness. Because I don't see the people who buy my work in galleries, I feel more comfortable knowing their pieces won't morph at the first wash, for example.

When I know more about natural dyeing, I might add a tag describing what can/might be expected of the colors on the pieces, because I believe some knowledge of natural dyes on the part of the purchaser is important.

For myself, however, I love the notion of locking the memories of one season into something I might wear, and even redying with the same, or different, plant the next year. With that in mind, I'm going over my favorite seed catalog picking out flowers I'd like on me, though I'll have to chop the already culled list, because we don't have enough anywhere near the garden these seeds need!


Sunny -- aka Matriarch said...

Meg, how do you lock the natural colors into the fabric without nasty chemical mordants? I keep seeing bits and pieces online -- people with little quart jars of flower petals, water and a swatch of fabric sitting on a window sill. I know I have a couple wine stains on napkins that will never, ever wash out. But how do you make something even a little akin to that happen on purpose?

Dianne said...

Ah, good scheme, many flower plants to block out the weeds. Go for it.

Meg said...

From what I understand, Sunny, certain plants have some of those chemicals so color plants and mordanting plants. Or cooking the lot in pots made of certain metals. Or cooking the lot with the addition of little tings like nails or paper clips and such.

Of course we can all dye with wine, which has tannin, which is a mordant. (LOVE sounding like I know what I'm talking about!) Under the Kiwi and Australian sun, even chemical dyes are not safe. Lots of Asian students complain about their clothes they bought back home fading within weeks of arriving here, and I've had similar experiences. But I don't think that some, not all, people understand that dyes aren't absolute, and if it's natural dyes, it's even trickier to keep it in the first instance, and keep it the same, in spite of the detergents and our own tap water.

Dianne, yeah, I know, and this year, I'm going for almost entirely perennials - after next year, I'll resume stuffing annuals in between, but I'm really looking forward to it. Mostly blues and purples, of course!