Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Recovering and new solar pot

I have had a peaceful couple of days-pottering around and amongst other things making a new solar pot. To do this I had to empty one in use and I chose my birch leave pot which has been on the go since May 5th and does not appear to be changing. So I removed the fibres-some teeswater and some prefelt and washed them and hung them on the line.
One of my first dye books- I think I have mentioned before- is Jill Goodwins A Dyer's Manual published by Batsford 0-7207-1327-7 . Jill, still, her daughter tells me spinning and dyeing in her 90's , has a fantastic list at the back of her book of all the plants she used and the colours with various mordants. The book itself is a little out of date particularly on the level of mordants but I still use Jill's method of dyeing with woad and I think it is still worth getting if only for the list at the back .
Very slowly I get round to trying some of the plants on her list. It was here I found that could get green with Mullien Verbascum thapsus and copper and also with horsetail (Equisetum spp).
I now make a copper mordant by submerging copper piping in water containing vinegar and leaving till the water goes blue with the copper acetate-Ipresume that this is what it is. I add copper piping and some solution to the pot so it is a very hit and miss affair, quantity wise .I picked 200g of equisetum from the hedgerow as I walked the dog, chopped it up , added some alum mordanted prefelt,and some unmordanted fleece, hot water , copper solution and my pot was done.
Left to right they are
Madder, Eucalyptus with iron , Golden rod with iron, new pot.


  1. Your solar dyes look wonderful. I have only tried it a couple of times. right now I have one on the window sill full of valerian that grows on the wayside. Not sure how it will turn out.

  2. I really am going to have to get some large glass jars to do this more effectively. My stainless steel pot with glass lid was successful with annatto, but because I couldn't seal it, it began to collect some mould after about 3 to 4 weeks.

    Could you recommend some jars?


  3. I find the oldfashioned cookware shops are a good source. Enys has just brought back some that were sitting in her greenhouse and one of the madder pots was mouldy-much to my surprsie.