Hollyhock solar dyeing

Remember this?

solar hollyhock

This was the jar containing hollyhock flowers and water for solar dyeing that I set up at the end of last week’s natural dyeing workshop with Cordwainers Garden. It includes a small piece of stitched silk shibori.

I was intending to leave it for at least a couple of weeks, especially as the “solar” contribution has been somewhat patchy recently (feels like autumn already!). in fact, I’d forgotten about it completely. But yesterday I suddenly remembered it and thought I’d check it.

To my consternation, there was some white mould growing on the top.

hollyhock solar1

I’m not sure if this was because I should have been shaking it regularly, or because I didn’t fill the jar right up to the top. But it didn’t seem like a good idea to leave it for much longer.

So I removed the fabric and unpicked the stitches. The colour was impressively dark when it was wet – the same shade as the dye, and similar to the colour achieved by steaming in bundles. But by the time it was dry, it had lightened considerably to a sort of battleship grey.

hollyhock solar2

Maybe it would have been darker if I had left it longer or if the sun had been stronger, but I’m quite happy with this colour.

It also had quite a strong medicinal smell, but by the time it was dry this had faded.



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Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

10 thoughts on “Hollyhock solar dyeing”

  1. Lovely! Quite different from the purple that you got at the workshop, but still beautiful. Aren’t the variations and unpredictability of natural dyeing endlessly fascinating?

    1. Thanks Kate! It was or nui shibori, or stitched shibori. I folded the fabric in half lengthwise, then stitched a scallop pattern along the fold and pulled it up really tightly.

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