Fennel flower heads.
Fennel stalks, chopped and ready.
The resulting fennel dye.
The left of the photo shows paper dyed with fennel. Both are green although that didn't photograph too well! The fabric in the middle is the original colour and the brown is the dye results. There is a lot I don't know about fennel dye! Why does paper come out green and fabric brown? I researched fennel dye on the Internet and came up with several variations of the same things so I 'mixed and matched' to suit myself.
If you're interested here's what I did...
Chop the fennel into small pieces
Boil for 20 Min's until nice and mushy
Strain the chunky bits and measure the resulting fluid (that beautiful purple stuff!)
Using a ration of 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts fennel liquid I added vinegar and then a tablespoon of table salt. I think the salt helps to 'fix' the colour and the vinegar to ward off mould growth. Correct me if I'm wrong!
For the fabric I used an old cotton napkin that I had pre-soaked cold tap water. I boiled it in the fennel dye water for 20 Min's and then allowed it to dry. I am not sure how purple plus white resulted in brown but I like it!
For the paper I did a straight wash and resulted in...nothing! Hmmmm. It dried clear like my nest and kowhai dyes did. I figured I did something wrong and found nothing on the Internet that was helpful for dying paper. (Plenty for colouring paper pulp and fabric but not for using the dye as a wash.)
Anyway... I came to the conclusion that salt alone wasn't enough to fix the colour and that heat was required to set it. All the material dyes I read used heat in some way so I got out my trusty old iron and tried again. Wa-lah! Green paper. Lime green at that! I am not too fond of lime/pastel green and thought that if I dyed, dried, dyed again, dried again...I would achieve a darker green but I just ended up with an even 'limer' shade of lime! At least I figured out how to set the colour on paper without having to boil paper, I am sure that information will be useful for the next experiment...
PS: I used a stainless steel pot.
Green/Greener post. Some link love for some of the great sites I discovered while learning about natural dyes. Inspiration abounds!
ICE 2011. This avo work starts on ICE #6 and as soon as my collages are mounted properly I will post collages 3-6. Anyone else doing this years exchange?