I was delighted to have the opportunity to take a worksop on fabric printing with fungi dyes, held at the 2010 Fungi Fiber Symposium. The workshop was held by Anna Homs and translated by Nilia Bañares. I have dyed yarns and fabric with fungi dyes but didn’t know it was also possible to use the fungi pigment for fabric printing.
The polypore is cut into small pieces and then heated in a small pot of water.
Handcut Stamps were made using clay.
The polypore pigment solution is drained through a cloth.
The pigment is scraped from the cloth and put into a small plastic glass.
Add some alum and white glue to the pigment mix.
Apply some of the fungi dye pigment mixture to a stamp using a paint brush.
The fungi dye pigment can be used to paint or print onto paper, cloth or leather. Use a hair dryer to dry the pigment.
Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles
Using dyes of the leaves, roots, and flowers to color your cloth and yarn can be an amazing journey into botanical alchemy. In Eco Colour, artistic dyer and colorist India Flint teaches you how to cull and use this gentle and ecologically sustainable alternative to synthetic dyes. UK: Eco Colour
My curiosity about nalbinding began at an early age as my father used to tell me stories of how his Saami mother would make mittens.
My grandmother was a Saami from the Sor-Varanger province of Norway. My father was born in Petsamo and was raised in a small Saami community. When he grew up he married my Finnish mother. He and my mother moved to Canada after the war and settled in British Columbia. My father worked as a commercial fisherman along the west coast of Canada. Before his long fishing trips, my mother would knit him several pairs of woolen hand warmers to keep his hands warm as he worked. My father would quietly comment to me, that he wished that my mother knew how to make the mittens like his mother did. He didn’t really understand how she made them, but he tried to explain that she would wrap the yarn around her thumb and sew it with a large needle. ‘Peukalo kude’ as he described it in Finnish. He said they were much warmer, thicker and more durable. Of course, he never told my mother this as he wouldn’t want to offend her.
I didn’t understand what this strange type of knitting could be, until I attended a Fungi Dye Symposium many years later. To my surprise, there really was a way of making hats, mittens, socks by using a simple needle and wrapping the yarn around your thumb.
Examples of Fungi Dyed Naalbinding or needle knitting at the International Mushroom Dye Symposium
Step by step instructions for nalbinding including hints on how to join threads.
Instructions for a basic nalbinding stitch.
Nalbinding – Oslo Stitch
Naalbinding – Finnish Stitch
A pdf file for naalbinding instructions developed by the Handiscola project. Handiscola Naalbinding
The Handiscola website is no longer on line so I have provided a copy of the pdf file here.
Crustose lichens are usually found on rocks, or on wood or tree bark. The entire thallus(or body of the lichen) is attached to the substrate. When the edges of the thallus are free from the substrate, the crustose lichen is called squamulose.
Foliose lichens are leaf-like or have distinct lobes. They are attached to the substrate by rhizines from a differentiated lower cortex.
Fruticose lichen are radially symmetric. The thallus is or more or less round, may be hollow or filled with white, cottony fungal hyphae. Fruticose lichen may also have a bushy structure.
Lichens are a fungus that have developed a symbiotic relationship with algae. There are 15,000 to 20,000 species of lichen that can be found throughout the world. Lichens are estimated to be the dominant vegetation on 8% of the earth’s surface.
Their tolerance of environmental extremes enable them to colonize unfavourable habitats. They are drought resistant and can be found in many unusual places, inside rocks, on backs of weevils, on trees or on sun-bleached animal skulls. Lichen are intolerant of atmospheric pollution, however, so are a good indicator of air quality. The distribution of lichen can be mapped and used to detect changes in air pollution in industrialized areas.
Lichen are a source of food mammalian grazers such as reindeer, caribou, mountain sheep and goats and a considered a delicacy in some cultures.. Lichen have been used for medicinal purposes. Lichen are best known as a source of dye, as their coloring agent works well on wool and silk without the use of a mordant. Some lichen are a very slow growing organism. Many take hundreds of years to develop. Care must be taken in picking for dye purposes so that the lichen is able to continue and thrive.
To the ancient Celts, dyeing was a somewhat magical process and was traditionally a woman’s craft. Animal dyestuffs, such as insects or snails were used as well as vegetable dyes, roots, leaves, and flowers. Lichen were gathered during the summer months and dried in the sun. Lichen required no mordant but were fermented with stale urine for several weeks over low heat.
Orchil lichen were often used as the base dye for dyeing wool with the more expensive Tyrian purple, produced by a small gland in shellfish native to the Mediterranean and Atlantic coast.
Many types of lichen were used as dyestuffs by native peoples of North America. The Chilkat Tlingit dancing blankets were dyed using wolf lichen. Navajo weavers used wandering ground lichen for warm brown colors.