Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Black Bean Dyeing

Welcome to my latest obsession. You'll have to come back toward the weekend for the results but at this point I'm off and running. Went to the store last night and bought 2 pounds of black beans and alum. I already had the cream of tarter. Covered the black beans with warm water and read a ton of online recipes. John said it would be a waste to use the black beans from the garden. We don't intend to eat these beans (although if I weren't using a compost bucket we technically could). These are art supply beans.

This is the silk shirt I'm going to dye. It was all the way into the bag for Goodwill before it hit me that I'd love it if it only weren't so bright white. It has silk covered buttons too so it should dye up nicely. It's really cute cinched in with a little belt.

 So this morning I put the shirt into a stainless steel pot with 1 tablespoon alum and 1 teaspoon cream of tarter and brought it to a gentle simmer, then turned off the heat and sat the pot next to the dye bucket on the clothes dryer to cool. Now I have to wait another 36 hours for the next step.

Being naturally curious I dipped the end of a paper towel into the bean juice to test the color. This is what came out. A fairly gray sage green. (I wrote "fairy" by mistake but I like the term for this color of green). Anyhoo, 10 minutes later the color had changed!!

It turned into this color. Definitely green. Now I've read that I can change the ph to make it lean more toward lavender but do I want to do that? (soda or vinegar to change the ph).

I loved stirring the simmering mordant pot with my big, wooden spoon, feeling like a good witch, connected to all the other dyers who've experimented farted around with natural materials in the past to get color.

Come back on the weekend and I'll show you the outcome. I'm bound to learn something.


Judi D. said...

Can't wait to see it!! What fun!

Roberta Warshaw said...

Can't wait!

Ro Bruhn said...

Ohhhh Judy this looks like fun. Looking forward to seeing the end results.

Sue Cottle said...

Exciting! Can you separate out some of your mordant and change the ph of that to dye another piece or two of fabric? I like using rust and tannin dyed fabrics in my art.

Hanging out for the next post!

Anonymous said...

Oh, oh, toil and trouble! Can't wait to see it.

Michele R. Unger said...

You are having waaaayyyy too much fun, as my husband would say. I say, "Oh, boy! Can't wait to see the results!" I love how the pH shifts the color---just like hydrangeas. Thank you for sharing your experimental journey with your readers. I'm learning a lot.


Clare Wassermann said...

so much more fun than conventional cooking.

Lynn Cohen said...

The green would go well with my hazel eyes! Just saying. LOL
I hope you get a color that goes well with your eyes! ;-)
It's a lovely shirt and what fun to play around making this happen. I thought it would be black! Duh! What do I know? Nada much about dying fabrics, which is pretty funny from an art quilt maker I guess. Live and learn. And I will learn from you! Thanks for the recipe!

Kimberley McGill said...

Fairy Green. Yes, fairies always have something to do with these things. :)

Linda Sue said...

What a surprising colour! Anxious to see what happens!

Jacky said...

Oooh I love dyeing adventures. Looking forward to the next 36 hours.
Thanks for sharing the process with us...might need to get some black beans myself and have a play!

Jacky xox

Kim Mailhot said...

I spent a lot of time in the last year doing eucalyptus and other plant dyeing on silk and wool and even paper, which was taught to me by magical eb (elizabeth bunsen). It is primal and witchy and wonderful !
Enjoy the alchemy !

Chris said...

Oh wow! How cool is that? Can you change the ph after you dye this shirt and then dye another? Which of course means you have to go shopping :) xo

Kathy said...

Oh my gosh, this is fascinating! I bought a bottle of Rit the other day for a rayon jacket I scored at The Bins that is WAY too white. I'm going to hold off now because this is a lot more interesting, especially that presto-change-o!

Bren Graham Thebeau said...

Now this I can't wait to see the end results you get. Fun!

Peggy said...

I see you've found the world of natural dyeing. You might be surprised by the color you end up with. Mordanted silk and paper towels can yield very different results. Have fun.

lyle baxter said...

tou are having too much fun! just like all the other kids -experimenting. will look for the results!

Jill said...

I'll be back.

somepinkflowers said...

~~~art supply beans~~~

just writing
makes me happy
with possibilities ...

~~~art supply beans~~~
~~~art supply beans~~~

{{ running now
to look
High & Low
for bored white clothing }}