More adventures with dye

TinTin and I had another dye session last week, experimenting with different leaves, but we also broadened the subject matter, to include flowers, and added techniques – flower pounding and paste resist.

I used some of the cloth I dyed with onion skins to over dye with indigo, with some quite striking designs.

Folded and clamped with a plastic bulldog clip .
Folded and clamped with a plastic bulldog clip .

I also did a little more stitch resist, and am happy with this result

Stitch resist on indigo
Stitch resist on indigo

Played around with pleating and clamping


TinTin used a frangipani leaf as a resist and the result is beautiful, go to her lovely blog for a look PapayaLime

We made up bundles using a variety of leaves, and the most successful were rose leaves and Indian almond tree leaves, but we only left the bundles for one day, and I think next time we’ll try a week – or even 2!


Then we moved on to flower pounding, a Japanese technique called Hapa-zome. This was great fun and highly effective. We used cloth that had been pre-mordanted in alum.

TinTin’s colourful results which included marigold flowers

Softer, fleshier leaves and petals worked best. We sandwiched them between cloth and pounded using a rubber mallet on a pile of newspaper. You can see a small 15 sec video of TinTin pounding this on my Instagram page

The cloth was then steamed for an hour and washed. We lost some of the colour, but on the whole the results were quite exciting.


The pounded leaves
Love the detail of the veins.
Love the detail of the veins.

Then finally we worked with a paste resist and indigo. The paste is made of plain flour and water boiled up to a thick, gloopy paste, then a tiny bit of caustic soda is added, with continued cooking the paste turns honey coloured and extremely gluey. We smeared this on cloth, and etched into it, but also dipped feathers and leaves in it and pressed them onto the cloth. The cloth then had to dry as crisp as a biscuit before quick dips into the indigo vat. More skill is required with this technique!

Paste resist feathers
Paste resist feathers

Now it’s time for me to scrub clean my blue hands and feet and get back to some drawing and painting.



7 thoughts on “More adventures with dye

  1. It was a very exciting, with all the experiments. I left your place with lots of new ideas will continue in Digana next week!

  2. So interesting! I was fascinated by your instagram video seeing the colours of the leaves and flowers start to come through the cloth. I also liked hearing the bird calling! And I love your dog!

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