In June, Penpol and Point WI held two half-day botanical bundle dyeing workshops, led by Nina Ducker in her barn.
Nina had prepared white silk scarves by washing them in pure soap and treating them with a mordant solution – which is an agent that binds fabric and dye. The members had all been asked to collect flower petals from their gardens to use in the process. They sprayed the scarves with a vinegar solution and then scattered over the flower petals and other dye-producing materials, such as onion skins, turmeric, lichen and iron filings, on half the scarf.
Having folded and rolled the silk into tight bundles tied with string (and name labelled to avoid confusion later!) the bundles were steamed for an hour. After the hour, the bundles were quickly chilled by rinsing them in cold water and hanging them to dry.
The members all had a surprise at the variation of colour that was achieved. The colour of petals and other materials scattered didn’t necessarily match the colour produced in the finished article, so no two scarves were the same.
Penpol and Point WI member Polly Barton said, “Nina worked so hard to make the workshops the success they were and it was really good to catch up with some of our members and to experience a degree of normality again.”