Monthly Archives: November 2016

Avocado- little surprises!


I do love an avocado, especially mashed up on toast with a squeeze of lemon and a twist of pepper but – this is not a cookery blog! I’ve tried using the skins and stones before and wanted to have another go – it’s like avocado alchemy!

Save all the skins and stones til you have a good haul! Keep them in the freezer til you have enough – drives the family nuts but, hey we all make sacrifices for our (mother’s) art!

I made separate dye baths for the skins and the stones as I’d read that they give slightly different colours. For each, I put the dye matter in the pan and half filled it with water. I then heated it on the hob until the colour was released (15- 60mins). Next I added the wetted out material; some wool blanket, silk, cotton sheeting and heavier weight cotton.

I took half of each set of fabrics out after one hour of simmering and left the rest to steep in the pan,off the heat, overnight.

Next step was to mordant some of each sample – last time I did this I mordanted everything and got a big surprise!

So, green avocado give soft pink/biscuit colours. The colours are much stronger pn animal fibres than vegetable ones – I’ll have to find a way to increase the strength on cottons. There are some interesting grey marks on some pieces, where the fabric rested on the stones.


But…I made an iron mordant the easy way – rusty metal left in a jar of water on a sunny window sill for a week – added the mordant to clean pans, again half filled with water and brought them to the boil. Then I dropped in the fabric into the pan and let it simmer for 30 minutes….


This is bonkers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Yes those are the same fabrics – the image below shows the before and after pieces next to each other


Some of the greys are so dark, like charcoal! Again the effect was strongest on the animal fibres. I love doing this! The dark tones are going to be perfect in new winter pieces I’m developing.


So now…I’m off to eat some more avocados on toast – and then see what happens when I use other mordants!


Cola pens…

A little something I learned about recently at a workshop run by the lovely Shelley Rhodes …

Cola pens are great mark makers, holding ink for longer than sticks and allowing thick and thin marks from the same ‘pen’

Take a drinks can and disassemble

Cut into rectangular sections and fold each in half.

Mark on the shape of the pen – vary the shape to see how it affects mark making. 

Cut out the shapes and tape each ‘nib’ to a drink stirrer/ lolly stick 

Dip the pen into ink or dye and get mark making!