Archive for May, 2011

More images from the garden

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

The garden is gradually developing and becoming more colourful and we have also been delighted to see the Judas tree and the wisteria in flower. Another unexpected pleasure has been the discovery of a beautiful paeony flowering profusely behind the compost bin at the bottom of the garden. In any other location I would certainly not have picked the blooms but in this instance I felt justified in bringing them indoors, where we can see and fully appreciate their beauty and perfume for the few days that they will be in flower.

The pictures below show some images from the garden. The first picture shows my tiny dye garden with woad, weld, lady's bedstraw, dyer's chamomile and a very small purging buckthorn (Rhamnus catharticus) bush in the foreground. Also visible on the left is my dyer's broom bush. As the space is too small to grow many dye plants, I have limited myself to mainly native plants and those I know to be reliable in the dyepot.

 

 

       

 

 

Musings on my inactivity

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

It seems such a long time since I last posted and I have still not managed to get down to much dyeing. The reasons for this are various: I have been spending a great deal of time with my granddaughters and this leaves me with little energy for much else. The time and energy I have remaining have been devoted largely to developing our new garden. I am also finding it more difficult to get used to not having an area in the house dedicated to my dyeing activities and it seems such an effort to set things up unless I have a real incentive. Sadly, this incentive seems elusive at present.

However, last week I spent a day here with Sussex basketmaker Jackie Sweet, experimenting with using natural dyes on basketry materials and I hope to write about this as soon as I have some photos to show the results, which were encouraging.

A little while ago I also completed my latest set of experiments following what I loosely call "Anglo-Saxon methods" and now I need to take some photos so I can write more about this. Basically, these experiments tested the classic dyes, madder, weld and dyer's broom, plus some tannin-rich dyes, using only mordants and other materials generally regarded as being widely available at the time. The results were interesting and suggest methods possibly of interest to today's dyers.

Otherwise we have done a little more exploring locally but, as my increasing problems with arthritis mean I can't walk any distance, this has been frustrating for my husband, who loves walking. I think these physical problems also have an impact on my lack of incentive to do much dyeing, as the effort involved can be too much at times.

This photo shows the tower of Sompting church, near Worthing, which is the only example in England of a type of tower known as "Rhenish helm". The church is set in a lovely spot not far from the Downs and even with the scaffolding is well worth a visit.