Oh. My. Goodness. Dupion silk isn’t really my cup of tea. I made my beloved a beautiful shirt from it for a big event once, but my one venture into wearing it myself was a brightly striped waistcoat made from a minimum amount. But recently I went to the Guild and there were leftover dupion lengths on the trading table. I walked away with the palest pieces for $3. They were a lot bigger than I expected but with some sun damage. The Guild was full of cheery folk eating cake and chatting on and admiring all manner of knitting and felting and spinning exploits. There were conversations about mordants in which I broke the news about how toxic many of them are and turned down offers to give me some toxic variations on the theme. I explained about the toxic waste dump where my Guild has been disposing of such chemicals for years now. I accepted a gift of some alum and cochineal extract (the kind my mother used to use for icing). Then there was quite a conversation about woad, cultivation and uses, which was good fun–and I gave the person concerned (who was new to the Guild) the alum! Anyway… I rode away feeling all activated and cheerful, and on my way home picked up a bucket from a skip, and from there the world was my oyster. Here’s the bucket on the back of my bike.
I rode through the lovely park lands and sampled all kinds of likely looking eucalypts as well as a sheoak. This one, with interesting bark and at least three different kinds of leaves.
This one I think is E Platypus. I have heard of others getting colour from it: me, not so much, so far.
And some lovely silver-leaved varieties too.
Finally I collected E Cladocalyx bark and filled my bucket to capacity. Here is the tree up close-ish.
Here it is from further away with the bike still there for size and a lot of the tree still not in the picture.
As I rode along the corellas were out grazing on one of the playing fields in the parklands (they are the white spots on the grass), with the city centre sprouting up in the near distance.
I arrived home and bundled up…
And then into the pot.
The various eucalypt samples from the parklands gave little colour (left), but my dependable friend E Scoparia dyed the silks a treat (right).
I soaked the bark and saved it for later. The prints are lovely and detailed…
I put the not so successful silk in for another bundling…
And remembered that my last experiments with clamping went better with less than maximum pressure… after the results were in!
9 responses to “Dupion silk”
Very pretty prints. Do you have any plans for the silk?
I’m with you on the mordants: I like everything to be safe to go on the compost heap after I’ve finished. It took me a long while to find out about it all though.
If you get great results from what you’re doing I think people are more likely to try it themselves & the earth gets a better outcome.
Agree with Norma re your great results influencing others. And that is one helacious big tree!!!!!
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Those sugar gums are HUGE once they’ve had time to grow… Truly wonderful. And thank you so much for your high opinion!
Thanks Mary for your inspiring blogs. I enjoyed the mix of dyeing conversations, parkland adventures and beautiful creating. Jayne
Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Jayne! I love being able to bring together all these elements once in a while. It makes me very happy.
Whoa! Love that last shot. Just thinking that I had better go snc do something with those carrot tops I have been saving.
Thanks Leonie! I hope you have carrot top happiness by now 🙂
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