My friend Linda Zucco arrived for an upcycling session today carrying a bolt of pale apricot silk which had been sitting in her cupboard for years, left over from an earlier time when she sewed clothes for the living (more on that tomorrow).
Linda now paints oils on linen, creating beautiful street life paintings which are exhibited regularly at Lethbridge Gallery in Paddington.
The Vespas in the painting (below right) have such personality and impact, it is easy to fall in love with Linda’s beautiful creations. She brought an artistic perspective to our eco-dye project, despite having not done it before.
Silk is a protein fibre, so it takes dye well. We set about gathering various eco-dye agents – cassia bark, star anise, old tea bags, sichuan pepper (that was passed its use-by date) – along with vinegar, salt and rusty tools.
We wet the silk in dilute vinegar, spread the bark, star anise, pepper and teabags on the silk then bundled it up and tied with T-shirt ribbon – and put it in a hotpot on the stove and weighted it down with the rusty tools for about 20 minutes, before leaving it to cool while we had lunch.
It is then so much fun unwrapping the parcel to see the impact – we particularly loved the red spots from the peppercorns. After rinsing off and air drying, Linda modelled the silk as Sew 352 in the garden with Penny chook (photo above). We dyed a couple of other scarves – including the one in the photos (at bottom) dyed with passionfruit and rusty metal balls.