In the meantime…

coreopsis flowers

It’s coreopsis time! I’m harvesting lots of flowers, like hundred every day now. Leaving enough for the solitary bees to collect nectar and pollen. Having so much flowers I’m going to dry some too to dye with them, just to see if there is a difference in color with the fresh flowers. For now, I’ve prepared a dye vat to let the flowers ferment in their juice, placing the vat outside as we’re having warm days.

I’ve only just begun with harvesting dyeplants and I’m starting a few dye vats. So many other things to do. I will post more about it very soon.

In the meantime you can now find me and my plants on Instagram too

See you here and there

Marylene

 

too cold to dye

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted something here. That’s partly because Spring has been too cold to start any dyevat. I really need sunlight to dye and my studio is not heated. I also realised that I have a lot of dyed yarn waiting to be transformed in pieces of art first🙂

to dye or not to dye, that's the question

From the left: dyed from leftover winter vats with dahlia flowers (a yellowy-orange), ivy leaves and berries (a yelllowy-green), tagetes minuta leaves and flowers (which actually gave a very nice bright yellow) and yellow Iris roots (which was a disapointment because it didn’t dye that lovely grey color it gave the first time I used it). To dye or not to dye, that’s my question right now ! To tell the truth, I’m a bit bored with all the yellows and beiges.

 

work in proces -work in proces

I’ve started some fiber art projects and I will share some pictures on this blog soon…

Anyway, I’ve sowed a lot of dye plants including japanese indigo, amaranthus red dye, poppies, orange cosmos, coreopsis, woad, mullein and others. They need to grow now, hopefully the rain will stop and sunshine will appear, we all need it…

In the meantime I’ve started making some incense which is something completely different from dyeing, it’s also with plants but it smells much better !

I just love it…

preparing incense Urdkyphi - preparationKyphi - ingredients - shades of lynxkyphi cubes dryinga batch of Kyphi, from an ancient Egyptian recipe

I’ve also started experimenting with local plants to make watercolors or aquarel and inks which is something I really want to learn more about.

 

c'est pret !nos oeuvres d'art

Always collecting, harvesting or drying some herbal stuff
I’m a harvester-gatherer that’s what I am …

pine pollenpine pollen, great medicine !

harvesting magical stuffharvesting magical stuff (here some mistletoe berries)

appel flower bud tea harvestapple blossom flowers for tea

Calendula officinalis dryed flowersdried Calendula flowers for dyes, medicine and incense

and… there’s always something brewing in the kitchen

brewing elderflower wine

brewing Elderflower wine

So I guess this year this blog will be about all the things I do with plants and not so much about dyeing, but you never know. See you soon🙂

 

The dyeing season starts again…

…slowly but surely

 

My friend gave me a Gunnera tinctoria dried flowerstalk with a lot of seeds in it. I’m told Gunnera tinctoria roots should dye black but I don’t seem to find a lot about it on the Internet. It’s worth a try but I need some full grown plants first, that will take a while, for sure. I found a few oaks galls in my garden which will come in handy at some point and I’ve started a fermentation vat with Ivy berries and leaves (Hedera helix). I’ve never tried dyeing with them and I’m very curious if it will give me the famous green I’m hoping for. Another smaller vat is filled with fermented juice of some rose hips I’ve collected in the Fall, the color is a very promising dark red but my guess is it will give pink on yarn. And in the smaller vat I’m testing oak moss (Evernia prunastri). It’s looks very promising so far, this lichen is very famous for it’s purplish dye. All fermented dyes of course!

More about this soon…

Ah! Spring is in the air !

Digging for madder…

 

madder roots

Madder roots 

 

It’s been a while since I posted something here. That’s because it’s winter and during winter I hibernate. Which means I don’t dye anything or harvest any plants, I just read and knit and read and knit and once in a while I write a bit too.

But basically, I’m waiting for the return of spring…

 

freshly dugged madder roots

freshly dug madder roots

 

But yesterday the weather was nice, the sun was shining and it felt like spring! So I decided it was a good day to harvest some madder roots.
It is said that the minimum age for harvesting madder is three years, but the best age should be five years. I have three madder plants, all of them three years old, so I dug one out, leaving some of the roots in the soil for new plants and I harvested about 300 grams of roots. I put them in a bucket full of water to loosen the soil and let it soak overnight.

Because madder root is hard to cut when dry I cut mine fresh in small pieces using a pair of secateurs after I have washed them thoroughly several times.

 

washed fresh madder roots

 

Now I will let them dry in a warm place before I use them, later in summer.
The colour of the roots is quite red as you can see. 300 grams of fresh washed roots should be around 45 grams of dried madder. That’s not much and to be honest I expected more, but I guess I will have to be patient and wait another two years to dig out the rest.

 

chopped fresh madder roots

chopped and ready to dry

 

Conclusion:  I will have to plant a LOT more plants if I want to dye with my own madder…

 

 

I went into the woods today

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

I wanted to share a few pictures of a beautiful magical forest close to my place here in Brittany.

The forest of Huelgoat is the vestige of the ancient forest that once covered inland Brittany. Huelgoat is a breton word  – huel=high and goat=forest – “the wood from above” Lots of mythical legends are born from this fascinating natural setting.

magical forest - foret d'Huelgoat

hairy rocks - foret d'Huelgoat

In this magical forest the rocks are very old,  with hair-like vegetation growing on top


shamanic mushroom foret d'Huelgoat

lots of shamanic mushrooms can be found here

mare aux sangliers - Foret d'Huelgoat

Springs and small streams are everywhere

la grotte d'Artus - King Arthur's grotto - foret d'Huelgoat

King Arthur himself visited this forest on a regular basis, here a cave named after him

la grotte d'Artus - foret d'Huelgoat

the tree on the rocks - foret d'Huelgoat

This oak is trying to split the rock which it grows upon

Do you see the gnome who’s trying to scare us away?

I really need to come and walk here more often, it’s such a peaceful place