Ah, the humble soybean. It gives me enormous respect for Japanese culture to see all that they have achieved with this rather unpromising bean (to say nothing of all the other skills and treasures of Japanese culture). Tempeh and tofu are very much on our menus at present, too.
I am just using it to mordant cellulose fibres ready for leaf prints, nothing as complex as tempeh, or even tofu. Usually I dip the fabric in the sea first when I’m visiting someone by the sea and then dry it and then begin with beans, but not this time. I forgot to take the cloth when I went visiting at Hove and the beans were already soaking. I measure out 3 cups of beans to every kilogram of fabric. I soak the beans overnight, grind them finely and dilute, then strain out the solids.
Then, it’s dip and dry at least three times. So this week I made the most of hot weather: 4 dips on a single day. These pieces of cloth are destined to be dyed by those who attend my dyeing workshop in January. It isn’t a difficult process to mordant this way, but there are a few steps to it. I’ve decided to try mordanting in advance in the hot weather of summer. Drying fabrics that have been through this process in winter is pretty trying and makes this a 4 day process, by the end of which the soymilk smells less pleasant. Mind you, even then, it takes about 5 minutes a day of actual effort for me!
Next, I’ll be testing one of these out to make certain sure there will be a good result on the day of the workshop. And perhaps, doing some more mordanting while the weather is perfect for it, as part of working toward taking advantage of the seasons to do the work that is most suitable to the weather and conditions.