Saturday, July 11, 2015

Still Summer...

One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.
Henry David Thoreau

The river Aulne next to the house

Le Bleu nouveau est arrivé...

The very first blue (and green) shades
some pre-dyed, some dyed twice, some will be re-dyed and re-dyed again and again...
using Woad and Rhubarb

What happens when you soak some onion skins in rainwater ?

Dyer's Chamomille (Anthemis tinctoria)
Jardin des Simples - Bellegarde en Diois

I've just started a fermentation vat with these flower's

Dyer's chamomille or golden marguerite is a perennial plant with aromatic bright green-bluish foliage and yellow daisy-like flowers.
It has no culinary and only limited medicinal uses. However, the flowers produce excellent yellow and gold-orange.
It has been used as a dye for a very long time, it provides the buff in Turkish carpets but in Europe dyers preferred weld instead as yellow dye.
The leaves give a light green dye.

Lost and found:
Some wooden stamps I've bought years ago !
I'm going to try and print on fabric



Sunday, July 05, 2015


An’ the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
An’ the cotton is high...

summertime is harvest time

Ash leaves (Fraxinus excelsior) to brew "Frenette". 
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) as herbal medicine.
and Dyer's Chamomille (Anthemis tinctoria) to make a yellow dye

When fermented in sugar or honey water, Ash leaves produce an alcoholic drink called Frenette or cidre de frêne. Frenette is a traditional drink fallen into oblivion since the sixties. However, it is still made by a few grandmothers in the countryside. This drink, which taste a bit like apple cider was already brewed by our ancestors the Gauls. Each region had its own recipe. Slightly alcoholic (2 °) and slightly sweet, this drink is not fattening. It is drunk fresh as lemonade.

The Gauls were Celtic peoples inhabiting Gaul in the Iron Age and the Roman period. The Gaul region corresponds to what is now Belgium, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Western Germany and Northern Italy.

Sparkling wines from natural fermentation

"Frenette" , wild strawberries and raspberries, peaches, elder flowers

I'm testing all kinds of vegetable mordants for the moment,
to ensure a better result with plant dyes as I don't want to use any metallic mordants !
Here I'm testing leafs of Rheum palmatum commonly called Turkish rhubarb
It is said that the fumes are hazardous so I'm a bit careful.

It surely smells like the rhubarb jam my grandmother use to make

and here's the result

Blue faced Leicester top, Blue faced Leicester sock yarn, silk/mohair, 
alpaca/ silk and some eco wool from the Andes, 
dyed and mordanted with Turkish Rhubarb

waiting for the Woad vat to be ready...
to be dyed 

In the meantime I'm harvesting next year's blues

Isatis tinctoria seeds