Friday, October 28, 2011

Mushroom dyeing: once is enough

My most recent surface design (dyeing) experiment turned out to be a stinking mess!  When I saw these weird mushrooms in my backyard last weekend and noticed how they'd stained the grass around them, I thought FABRIC DYEING!  Don't they have an interesting "border" design? 

Mushroom in my yard.  Type???
 I harvested more than a bucketful!
Shroom Family
An 18" garter snake was hiding under this crop, below.  Just to prove I could, I caught the snake by the tail and proudly showed it to my husband.  Sorry, no photo!
"Turtle shell" shrooms!

Big Daddy Shroom!  (12" across)
I took some of the harvested fungi and placed them on my PFD fabric.  Wearing rubber gloves, I smooshed and smashed them into the cloth.  They were juicy!  Next, I rolled the fabric into two bundles, with the mushrooms still inside, then double-bagged them in plastic.
Shrooms smashed and bundled in PFD fabric
After 2 days on the backporch, I thought my project might need heat to yield better results.  After photographing it, I placed the mushy bag on the hearth in front of our gas heater.  (I wonder if the word mushy has its origins in mushroom?)
After 2 days . . . yum
Last night, I turned the bag over one rotation.  Five minutes later, I saw that it had begun leaking a thin, dark brown liquid onto the hearthstone.  I quickly cleaned up the mess and decided to stop the experiment.  Back on the porch again, I unwrapped the bundles and nearly gagged from the smell!  I persevered and got the fabric rinsed out, and the rest of the nasty mess went outside in the trash.
The result. 
This morning I studied my mushroom-dyed fabric.  It's not pretty.  It IS organic, though, and does look like some of India Flint's experiments in her wonderful book, Eco Colour.  I'm not sure how or even IF I'll ever use it, but I'm pretty sure I won't repeat this stinky experiment again!

1 comment:

  1. LOL. I've never tried doing that experiment, even though I harvested mushrooms in our backyard before. I wonder how bad it smells. Hehe. You are a brave woman for grabbing that snake all by yourself. :D I think you can dry the fabric in the sun and let the smell wear out before using it.