Showing posts from July, 2011

Mushroom Dye

The Puget Sound Mycological Society presented a hands-on workshop this weekend, Mushrooms for Color; Using Mushrooms as a Natural Dye Source. The class, held at the lovely University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture, was educational and fun-- and we split our time between the classroom and our workspace outside. I love getting my hands dirty.

To facilitate sample dying, we started by adding the mushrooms and warm water into mason jars (one species per jar, some frozen, some dried) to keep it all separate. To some of the jars we added a dash of mordant; either alum (buy it bulk in the kitchen section of your market), iron, or sodium bicarbonate (more commonly called soda ash or washing soda at the hardware store). The mordant produces color changes beyond the range of mushroom pigment in some species and also helps pigment bind to fiber.

Once all 14 jars were filled with samples and mordant if applicable, we lowered them into the water and began the process of slowly heating…

Day dreams.

My mind wanders, drifting into a state of fantasy where farm-fresh food fills the crevices of my mind, where sheep play in pastures, where hands shape the earth into gold. Call me a dreamer but what I want is a farm. A life to make my own. A home to build, a field to turn, a long, hard day. Or as my great-grandma Lena did it, an old tractor with a trailer full of watermelon. *Yum*. She was such a great lady.

Dad, just slap me and tell me to wake up. Farmers have to work way too hard. ;)