Sunday, 5 June 2011

Gardenia Pods Brilliant Yellow.

Gardenia pods in a stainless pot before boiling.

Gardenia pods that form once the flowers are finished are a stable source of a brilliant yellow dye for under-dying indigo to get greens. Boil them and smush them against the side of the pot with an egg flipper. Filter the liquid through a fine mesh and repeat four times to get a deep orange dye bath.

I mordant it in a separate bucket with creme of tarter instead of aluminum.

A basic rule of thumb for using vegetable dyes is to use four times the weight (of the wool or silk to be dyed) of the dyestuff material. (ie. roots or bark or flowers) Some dyes are so pigment-rich the ratio can be reversed. 500 grams of gardenia pods can easily dye 2kg of silk. The gardenia pod yellow is brilliant with a slight orange hint. The greens you can get with successive indigo dips are unique to gardenia. Other yellows from turmeric , onion skins, pampas relatives, etc, give their own specific tone of green. Like oil painting, greens are often tricky to use. In nature they are beautiful. They feel a little sickening when humans play with them. There is a tendency to get puke, snot or mucus like shades.

Yellow dye from gardenia pods and single indigo dip to get the green.

Shades of green with an single or double dip in indigo.

These greens are a tad nauseous but they will be combined with a light blue thread and then knit on a drum knitter to make heavy stretch t-shirt material. Eventually to become cardigans etc to sell in the shop. The silk is from waste slab. It doesn't dye that well with indigo as it streaks. This will be hidden in the knit. (hopefully)

1 comment:

  1. Hello Bryan! I found your blog by happy accident while researching Heian period dyes; searching for the kanji for odan or ôdan, a golden dye made with gardenia fruit (do you know this kanji?). These blue-greens are lovely... and your talk of the various greens made with different yellow dyes is very interesting. Do you know which dyes were used in Heian times to create ao (blue-green) and moegi (sprouting green)? ~ Emily