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Diary

by Julie Roussy Newton •

Natural Dyeing with Spring Flowers

Hi :) Julez here.  It's spring. I'm staying close to my home. I am blessed to be surrounded by so much nature! My next door neighbour has a stunning Camellia tree and has asked me to help her keep her driveway clean of the falling flowers. Naturally, I figured I would see if they could be use as a natural dye. After searching on the internet, I saw that some people have gotten successful extractions from these flowers. I stumbled upon this GOLDMINE of a site. This artist beautifully tells their way through Japanese traditional arts and natural dyeing! I have learnt so much already and can't wait to try more of what I have read. I boiled down the camellia flowers for 3 days, and have reached a beautiful deep coral colour. It is neither orange nor pink but somewhere in the middle. I read somewhere online that adding lemon juice and salt produces a vivid pink and am excited to try this as well!  I waited for mordants to arrive from maiwa.ca before I started preparing the fabrics I wanted to dye. When my mordants arrived in the mail, it was time to begin!!! As I prepared the camellia dye, I got excited and started cherry blossoms, lilac flowers, lilac twigs, spanish hyacinth, sumac flower, scott's broom (the yellow flower) and avocado nut dye too. Later came the red tulip dye, marigold dye and rhododendron dye that was also made. ~ Marigold petals ~ Fig trying to figure out if they're edible ~ Sumac Flower ~ Gorgeous day ~ Lilacs ~ More camellias! I thought I would be able to blog and work but once my curiosity took off I had to put my phone and computer away to focus on what I was working on. So I am now writing what I learnt after the fact! I got very excited to say the least. I got three big pots and filled them with water and then put mason jars with their flower matter in them to boil down. The process of extracting colour from most plants is essentially the same: 1. Separate plant into the parts/colours you want. 2. Boil them down until the plant matter is translucent. 3. Cool and strain liquid. 4. I usually like to let the dye stand for a few days, as I find it creates deeper colours. 5. Use as dye! 100% silk scarves I had these marvelous silk scarves kicking around that I had been to afraid to work on because they were so nice. Fancy one for your momma? But with all the great colours that came out from my plant dyeing experiment, It was finally time to rainbow dye them with all the precious petals I had been collecting! :') These scarves were 100% silk that were dyed with all the flowers from my garden. A super special Mother's Day item!