Seaweed Alchemy at Old Bar
India Flint’s visit to our region has left quite a few people on the boil with ideas and pure exhilaration. Her workshop at the Manning Regional Art Gallery looked inspirational with pots cooking and plants being arranged and discussed for effect and colour surprises.
Unfortunately I was unable to attend the workshop but as India stayed with me overnight I gratefully had the opportunity to cook up a silk package with lovely results.
India was also carrying around another package which was dyed at the workshop. Ready to untie and reveal this morning the silk dress dye included some Old Bar seaweed in the mix.
This was coiled around the tightly bound package to create a dye effect but also a print. The resulting colours and effects were very rich and amazing. Contrary to what I had understood about using mordants to dye with natural materials, India’s technique doesn’t require these as additions to the dyepot. There is also a difference in colour results dependent on cooking/simmering times in the pot. So the formula for creating these effects isn’t a fit all one. You have to be intune with the types of plants you are using and ‘feel’ their effects relying on your developing experience as you work with them. But it’s also a technique that can be serendipitous and exciting with first attemps too. Really extraordinary!