Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tea and Coreopsis Dyes on Silk

tea dyed with itajime on left,
antiquie silk in coreopsis on right
Wonderful results!
I especially like the itajime (where I blocked the dye with ovals clamped onto the folded silk de
chine) dyed in tea.

I couldn't get the whites to show up in this photo. Please imagine the lightest colors are white.

The antique silk dyed in the coreopsis didn't show the itajime pattern as well, but what a wonderful effect I got accidentally from where the metal clamp touched the silk!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Natural Dyes: Tea and Coreopsis

Oh, man! I forgot to mordant the silk first! The colors won't be as deep, but hopefully, there will still be enough color to make a difference.

Suni's sister from Korea is visiting. She came over to do some dyeing with me this morning. I showed her how to measure the aluminum sulfate for mordant and to bring the water to a boil before adding the mordant and the cloth.
the tea from Yunan province in China
comes as a compacted disc

We soaked the silk de Chine and the antique Japanese silk in this water while we made a dye bath from tea from my trip to China in 2009  and from the coreopsis flowers I got from Laurel Boyajian.

silk in the tea bath
the tea leaves have been strained out
We folded the still wet cloth and clamped it with   plexiglass disks to block the dye. Then we submerged the cloth in the hot dye baths. We will leave it overnight and take it out tomorrow.

silk in the coreopsis bath

When I took Suni's sister back to the green houses where Suni works, Suni showed us some iris's we can try for dyeing tomorrow!

It was only after I got home that I realized I had forgotten to add the mordant to the boiling water before adding the cloth!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tea Culture and Tea Bag Cocoons!

There's just something about a good cup of tea with a sweet friend! Even better when that friend's art is on the wall above you! Today Beth Reiter's tea bag cocoons grace the walls of the Vashon Tea Shop as we sip our tea and discuss promoting our art work. She tells me:

These small pieces of art were created using dried tea bags. Each was opened, cleaned, filled with cotton and a treasure, then sewn, and sealed with beeswax. They hold wishes for your good life and can be hung a kitchen nook, above the bed, in a window, on a rear view mirror.
Add your own wishes.

Kind of like a cocoon, they hold dreams and shapes of the future. Each cocoon is opaque so that you can sort of see what's inside, but not completely. A nod to the unknown. 

Every tea bag has the unique markings of its particular brew. Some have the rich, dark markings of chai and others are more subtle, like chamomile.

I had been saving tea bags for a while and didn't know what would become of them but I loved seeing the different patterns that emerged so I kept saving them and eventually they became cocoons. I hope you enjoy them!
They make great gifts for friends and family or for your very own self!

Beth is a Vashon Island artist who creates delightful shrines and other art  available on etsy.  If you would like one of her treasures, a custom shrine or tea bag cocoon, or have questions about her work, please contact her at this email: