Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with my wonderful friend Elizabeth Bunsen. She was full of energy from a recent trip to New Mexico, where she taught a workshop. She had invited me to try some cochineal dyeing in her beautiful studio. Pink is her current color and, as always, she was inspiring and generous. I've been wanting to learn how to use natural dyes in the treatment bath for my eco prints after seeing some very gorgeous results that other artists are producing. Here are some of our results.
The difference in colors of these pieces seems to be due to different fibers and also whether the fabrics were pretreated with alum. The piece with the embroidered bird is alum-treated cotton, while the bright pink is alum-treated silk. The silk scarf below was not alum-treated and was knotted for some variation is color intensity. Much paler than its silk-bundle sister.
This little bright pink bundle contains fresh crabapple leaves, and I'm leaving it wrapped for several days to see if the leave pigments will transfer to the silk, after a shorter processing time than I usually use for my eco prints.
Here is the lovely Elizabeth, and below is her clothes line with some of our newly-pink fabrics. Those with her mainly-orange eucalyptus prints were overdyed with cochineal. It is a wonderful combination.
I can't wait to get back to my own studio where I'll cook up a cochineal dye pot. Thank you for your hands-on tutorial, dear friend! What a wonderful afternoon it was!