Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Can One Own Too Many Hand Dye Books?? I Think Not-lol & Looking for Eucalyptus Leaves

   I have always loved books, especially those that teach something. Being old fashioned I also love real books-in my hands that I can physically feel and turn the pages. I would say that for the last 35 years or so of my life, I have lived mostly rural or in small towns where I did not have good access to libraries. Or if I did those  larger nearby towns charged $150.00 per person per year for a library card. Always thought that was craziness. Here in Missouri the nearest town does have a free county library but the things I am interested in-I have a better library of books then they do.  lol  So, needless to say I do buy books for my creative projects when I want to learn more.

   I started my interest in learning to weave, and hand dye back in the late '70s when I lived in Denver Colorado for a few years. During this time I started purchasing and reading books on hand dyes using found plants. I did not get serious about actually playing with hand dyes til I retired end of 2003-we just worked so many hours, no extra time for "fun" stuff like that. So, since retirement, I learned all about the blogging world where I also follow blogs that share their knowledge of things I am interested in-and threw that I have picked  up a couple books on hand dyeing with natural materials that actually had well written information about mordants etc. So, I think as we grow in our fields of interest-we yearn for more knowledge of different techniques. At  least that is how it is with me-especially when it comes to the dyes.

   A couple of the best books I have picked up are:  Jenny Dean's Wild Color, and J.N.Liles book The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing. These two books offered me specifics that I really wanted and needed for better results. These two books really opened up my world for dyeing with natural dye stuffs especially on cottons



   When I read the magazine article about how to do the silk ties on silk project, the author suggested for reference the book Eco Colour by India Flint I got to thinking first of all do I really need another hand dye book-especially since I buy mostly sight unseen. Checking online-this was an expensive book $40.00 on up and it was printed in 2008. So for a book to hold it's value this well I am thinking must be a good book. So I read the reviews on Amazon first and there were allot of negatives-that the author jumped all over the place with her information, was not detailed enough-no exact recipes (which is usually the case for hand dye books), and many said not for the beginner. Also, many complained that the author spent too much time discussing plants in Australia-well the author was living in Australia so she would share what she has available.

   This book had me intrigued, and I am no longer a beginner; so I shopped around online and found a new copy for around $30.00 that included the shipping. This is a pretty high price for me to pay for a book, but I went ahead and splurged.

  The book arrived in the mail on Monday, and I have been reading this cover to cover. This is an excellent book of ideas and techniques on how to capture color on cloth from flowers, leaves, barks etc. The author does not skip all over the place, rather the book is well organized with chapters. She does not give specific recipes-and she is right how can you? with all the variables involved. She does, however to give you knowledge and the basics for many techniques on silk, cotton, wool.  I have learned so much about mordants on cotton that are not chemicals that I would never have imagined could be used. She does allot with silks, has many ideas for imprinting leaf and flower shapes etc onto cloth. She could be taken as too political perhaps; she shares allot of history, how chemicals are bad for the enviroment and for the dyer, but I have to agree with her for the most part. She also talked about flower pounding which I love to do, but she called it something else and had different ideas about this technique, she actually was doing rust dyeing too, but did not call it that. This is a very "organic" book, I really have enjoyed reading and learning.

The technique about the silk ties on to silk fabric is not in this book, but the magazine article's author got ideas from this book and went from there.That is the kind of book this is, which makes the author an excellent teacher I believe.

I was so excited about the knowledge the author shared in her book, that I wanted to share this book with any of you that are interested.

On another note I have a request-this book had allot of information on using eucalyptus leaves-do any of you have this tree in your backyard?? if so I would love to trade leaves in exchange for soap or one of my hand  dyed pieces thanks



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