Tag Archives: E Cladocalyx

Eucalyptus dyeing

In not-so-recent dye baths, I included a wool scarf for a friend.


I love the way it turned out.  I hope she will too.  I bundled up E Scoparia leaves and some windfalls from a tree I think might be E Nicholii.  It branches (what I mean is it that it has been brutally pruned) very high so these windfalls gave me leaves to try that I otherwise could never reach.


Love the string resist marks…


Then I returned to the E Cladocalyx bark I harvested weeks back which has been steeping.


Calico mordanted in soy and lots of clamping was the choice of the day.


The wet fabric next day (I know, patience is the dyer’s friend, but my friend was out for the day).

2016-07-18 11.25.28

I do especially love the buds!

2016-07-18 11.25.18

The overall effect… suggesting my fold-and-clamp technique may require more practice!

2016-07-18 11.25.36



Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing

Bundle dyeing–and a new book

After the recent massive vat dyeing project, and with so many Eucalyptus Cinerea leaves lying around drying slowly, I was itching to dye some bundles. After a full day of mordanting and dyeing and sewing in windy overcast weather… here’s the view over the back fence and up into the sky.

2014-06-28 17.26.19

I had a piece of silk twill left when one of my workshop participants didn’t appear. In it went.  I also had a linen shirt and a cotton t shirt sourced at op shops and ready for renewal that I had mordanted in summer.  By the time I tied those bundles the sun was setting.

2014-06-28 17.19.53

I filled the pot with madder exhaust, and topped it up with some of my very-much reused alum pot. As the remains of the madder rose up the fabric and the temperature rose, the sun went down.

2014-06-28 17.25.37

When I opened these first two bundles the impact of the chalk in the madder pot became clear.  And despite having allowed the leaves to dry for days, it is midwinter here.  Those leaves would have started out full of water, and they are drying very slowly.  Interesting results… This is the silk twill.  The round green shapes are from dried E Cladocalyx ‘Vintage Red’ leaves.

2014-07-16 09.10.56

This is the t shirt.

2014-07-03 16.41.11

Here is the part of the t-shirt bundle that was in the madder exhaust/alum blend.  So little colour from the E Cinerea!

2014-07-03 16.41.25

I decided to set the third bundle (linen shirt) aside and give it some more time in the pot, which I did after work later in the week. Front view:

2014-07-16 09.12.15

Back view.

2014-07-16 09.12.31

If you wish you could try this method and have experiments of your own and bundles to untie at your place–but you’re not sure where to start, India Flint has just published ‘the bundle book’.  It is a concise introduction to her technique on fabrics and on paper.  You can see an extensive preview if you follow the link.  This book is unspeakably cute–being both small and exquisitely illustrated with photos to inspire.

2014-07-17 09.29.06

It presents information about techniques (such as dyeing paper) not covered in her earlier books, strategies for sustainable and safe dyeing and a history of the eco-print method.  It also addresses fresh ideas developed since the publication of Eco Colour and Second Skin.  And, it is full of India Flint’s inimitable voice.  I am old enough to remember when recipe books were sold on  the basis of recipes and not celebrity cooks, and when the writing was bland and spreadable.  I don’t miss the bland and spreadable writing, though I’m less sure about the cult of celebrity cooks.  No danger of bland here!  I very much enjoy the sense of a unique intelligence at work on subject matter I think about a lot that is a feature of India Flint’s writing.  It is a rich addition to her insights and strategies about harvest, recycling and dyeing.

This book is published on demand, which is a no waste, effective way of publishing a book for something short of a mass market. I suspect it also means that the book you order in Australia is printed here, but a book ordered in North America will be printed there, and not have to travel the seas or skies to reach you.  The printed versions of the book are fairly expensive, however.  If your wallet is up for it, it’s a great way to support an independent artist and the end product is delectable.  If your wallet isn’t up for it, the downloadable pdf option is instant and very affordable, and still a great way to support an independent artist.

I’m looking forward to trying out dyeing paper… perhaps when the rain pauses (I went out to figure out why the gutters were overflowing mid-edit on this post–and fixed the trouble with my dyeing tongs!).  While the rain continues, I’m having a knitting jag suitable to the weather…


Filed under Book Review, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing

Leafy quilt back finished!

On the weekend, I finally stitched together the back for a quilt that has been in some kind of progress through most of the last year.
The blocks for the front are finished and I hope I have eco printed enough fabric for a border. A friend who was over on the weekend advised me about the sashing. So… now I need to get started on piecing the front together. Don’t hold your breath! Meanwhile, the saltbush seed I collected while we were on holidays is coming up and so are my vegetable seedlings, and I’m contemplating what to do with the home grown indigo and when I should do it!


Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing

A Community Celebration

As I read The Little Book of Craftivism, ideas kept popping into my head.  This one took a little longer to execute than the mini banners. There is a row of immense, sugar gums (Eucalyptus Cladocalyx) over 100 year old in our neighbourhood which were scheduled to be cut down due to changes in the railway corridor.  Many people in our neighbourhood were part of a campaign to save them.


We managed to save these trees (albeit very severely pruned) while dozens of others were cut down.  People have been saying to me when they visit the nearby local neighbourhood centre how awful it looks now that all the trees that used to stand between the neighbourhood centre and the railway have been cut down.  They often say how relieved they are that the ones we saved are still there–but they do not realise what went into saving them.  They don’t even know those trees were threatened.  There are still all night works and daytime works and continuing campaigns and about noise going on and many people in the area feel very discouraged living with the aftermath of all the infrastructure works.  So I imagined bunting that read ‘these trees saved by community action’ and a bit of a celebration of our having actually succeeded in this part of what we have tried to do.


Well, I made the bunting.  And another member of our local group emailed out the most beautiful invitation to come and hang it up and celebrate the continued existence of the sugar gums.  And so a small local celebration, complete with our local MP Steph Key and our local councillor, Jennie Boisvert, who both put considerable effort into supporting our campaign.  I wanted to thank the woman who stared the campaign and was its mainstay, so I made her a little leafy bag.  Here it is filled with rolled up bunting ready to go and celebrate.


And here we are, after a highly entertaining hanging of the bunting.


I’ve made a tutorial on how to create this kind of lettered bunting, which you can find in the how-to page (link at the top of the blog) or here, if you’d like to try your own.  I already have another plan, personally….


Filed under Craftivism, Leaf prints, Neighbourhood pleasures, Sewing

An appreciation of Eucalyptus Cladocalyx, the Sugar Gum

Sometimes I travel in and out of the city through the parklands.  My favourite part of the route (when travelling on bike or on foot)  is this pathway lined with sugar gums.  They are yet to reach their full height but they are still impressive, majestic and beautiful trees.


The City of Adelaide is famously circled by parks.  In our harsh summers, the parklands become dry and brown well before summer reaches its height. You can see in this image that the crisping of the parklands has begun already. The trees branch too high for me to be able to photograph the canopy, but this branch had fallen and dried.


Friends have spent months of the last year trying to save an avenue of sugar gums  that are twice this size, at least, and much older.  Our campaign to save them succeeded, but the sugar gums are growing along a railway line that is being electrified and a few days ago they were scheduled to be ‘pruned’ in a way that will render them lopsided amputees.  I am glad the railway is being electrified (it is diesel powered now, polluting and unsustainable).  Its impact on local trees is less welcome.  I haven’t been able to bear to go and look yet.  It was a huge achievement to save those trees and I am hoping the pruning has not been too brutal.  And that this avenue of trees in the parklands will stand tall for decades, or even better, centuries to come.

Oh, and have I mentioned the silk moths?



Filed under Eucalypts, Neighbourhood pleasures

More Eucalyptus Cladocalyx Bark Outcomes

Given the level of colour in my E Cladocalyx bark tannin bath (see previous post), I couldn’t resist trying to dye some wool.  This is handspun finn cross wool, cooked for about 90 minutes in a solution of E Cladocalyx bark, which had been soaked in a sunny spot for 14 days prior to dyeing. The commercial superwash, alum mordanted strand of wool on my test card is a much darker shade of brown.


Leave a comment

Filed under Dye Plants, Eucalypts, Natural dyeing

Eucalyptus Cladocalyx Bark

I have been reading Rebecca Burgess’ gorgeous book, Harvesting Color, which had me thinking about how to create a tannin solution.  The local solution for her is to gather acorns.  That might be possible for me in autumn, too. There are some avenues of oaks in my city, and they have tiny newly formed acorns right now.  But it seems to me that eucalypt bark would be a promising source in my own region.  I thought it seemed logical to collect bark from a species that hadn’t shown a lot of dye potential (I’m trying for mordant, not dye).   So I stopped outside the royal showgrounds where this huge E. Claodocalyx (Sugar Gum) had shed its bark recently.  We were having unseasonably cool weather as this dull photograph shows.


I picked up a bag full of bark and headed home to let it steep in rainwater. This will be an opportunity to consider the dye potential of the bark as well as try it as a source of tannins.  There are many of these trees around my area and this is a truly huge tree when full grown, which sheds its bark once a year, so if this is a good source of dye, I will have access to a lot of it! Here is how it looked on 15 December:


And two days later:


…so I put a metre of cotton cloth into it, which immediately turned golden yellow:


I left the pot in a sunny spot.  The temperatures have ranged from mid-twenties celcius to 40C.  By 1 January, the pot was darker still, with the liquid seeming a ruby red shade.


And here is the cotton I immersed in it  so many days ago after drying.


Needless to say, I am now planning to dye wool in my bark liquor and see what happens…

Leave a comment

Filed under Dye Plants, Eucalypts, Fibre preparation, Natural dyeing, Uncategorized