I had many chalenges in this session, but i learn a lot trying to find solutions. It was richenss in the social relationship but also substancial in the way i discover more about the enviroment i am living and also nice to understand the quesmestry process involved in the dye.
Trying to think about how to get the natural dye, i thought about the organic market that happens almost everyday in the town, but they rarely have any onions. One of my old students is the daughter of the owner of a supermarket so I asked her to collect and keep onion skins that they usually throw away. I thought it was a good opportunity to involve her in the project. I also went to some of the other supermarkets and asked them to save the skins for me too.
Its very funny, actually they have a specifically day of the week to peel the onions, but most of them are not purple but the white ones.
As I was afraid that I wouldn't have enough skins I looked for avocados and other solutions, as I believe that the Brazilian savana has a wide richness in these things.
I watched a video about avocado natural ink and decided to try it. I also think that it makes sense to try it as it would respect the environment around me more. If the local producer doesn't have onions it must be for a certain reason. Also around here there are many avocado trees despite it is not being originally from the Brazilian savana.
There was a girl with a big basket of avocados in the market. She gave me 3 which were too mature to sell.
For that entire week (and actually until today), someone gives me bags of onion skins every time I go to the supermarket! I collected so much, that I now don't know what to do with them!
I researched natural inks in Brazilian savana and I discovered many different trees, barks, leafs and fruits. I couldn't find some of them in the town, but its already wonderful to know that!
Along with the avocado and the onion skin I also used pomegranate from my garden and eucalyptus leaf and bark which from a tree that had cut and left on the roadside. (I had gone to the my friend's house to pick up some stuff that night, and he was complaining about the eucalyptus tree and I remembered that it was a good mordant and a possible ink! I stopped in the middle of the road to collect huge pieces of wood, bark and leaves!)
Wondering about the project, I realize that I don't have access to woollen yarn and the cotton trees are not in bloom right now, so I decide to ink use old clothes and rags. I thought about going to the seamstress but I managed to get some from another teacher that had some left over from another activity.
I couldn't find anything that would work as a mordant in the pharmacy or in the market so I had to use natural ones. I was looking for a pan to use and my aunt gave me two rusty pans, in the material we read it said that rust could serve as a mordant so I use that!
First of all I washed the fabric using natural water.
Them I filled one of the rusty pans with water and let it boil for a while with vinegar.
In another pan I used water and eucalyptus bark
And in another rusty pan I boiled the water with the avocado.
Apart from the avocado all these pans was supposed to serve as a mordant as well. But the eucalyptus water gave a incredible color, so I decide to try it as a dye.
I left te fabric in the pan with vinegar an water over night.
The first dye I tried was the avocado one, as the mordant and dye were already mixed together.
I was expecting to get a pink colour with the avocado, but it turned into a deep purple. I imagine it was because of the rust, but I liked the color anyway.
The dying process:
The next day I washed the fabric that I had left soaking in the rust and vinegar mordant.
I made a white onion skin dye in a rusty pan and the water became black. I put the fabric in it and it became green.
I repeated the process with the onion in a normal pan. It first became an orange solution but then turned green as well, I imagine because of the mordant once again.
Then, I wanted to get a pink from the avocado but still have the pomegranate. I put them together and the colour was kind of yellow/orange similar to the onion skins. When I soak the fabric in it, it turned purple again.
I did same process with the eucalyptus leaf and it bacame purple as well.
Well, the rusty mordant changed the colours a lot! It was huge interference. I would like to try it with salt as a mordant or something else. But iI didn't have any, fabric left. I was going to use rags (for cleaning floors), but they were too dirty too use.
Was really nice to do this experiment. I feel that it really started to involve the city with the project. People are asking me how it went, they are curious about it and they seem to want to be part of it.
I wanted to make and exhibition or do something else with the dyed fabric but I didn't have a complete idea that made sense and that involved the city, having an ecological and sustainable knowledge or having a nice presentation.
I wanted to make a display of little pieces of color or glue the dyed fabric on wood with beeswax. But in the results of the color and texture weren't what I expected and I so I gave up on those ideias.
I am still trying to find a solution for this. But in the pictures you can some sketches, wondering about drawing something with charcoal sticks or to write something that makes sense for this reality.