October 6, 2015


September Yellow

Have you ever had a dye pot on your stove?

Me neither! 

At home we are exploring color this year--mostly color that we can pull right out of our backyard or kitchen. So here's September Yellow.


We chopped fresh leaves, and dyed one napkin just in fig leaf dye, and the other we combined pomegranate tannins (from pomegranate rinds), and the fig leaf brew. That one actually worked and held the color!


We smashed nasturtium flowers and combined them with an egg yolk and water to make a lemony-colored paint. We also mixed ground turmeric with the same tempera mix and made a gritty, but deep orange-ish/browny-yellow paint. 



Oak trees are common here in Santa Barbara, and their acorns are filled with tannins, which help bind a dye to fabric fibers. We gathered acorns, hammered the shells, crushed and ground the acorn meat, then rinsed the tannins into a pot to use later. Easy peasy, plus the hammering part was super fun.


We ran around our yard chopping yarrow leaves and gathered both dried and fresh flowers. We simmered the leaves and flowers in water to create the yellow dye, then added alum, a mineral mordant to one pot, and our acorn tannins to another pot. The alum/yarrow pot turned lemony yellow, while the acorn/yarrow pot turned a blotchy brown.

And here is September's yellow, nicely folded, and ready to meet October's purple...





Published: October 6, 2015 | Filed under: Home

Comments (4)
Kh. Tammy said:
October 6, 2015 @ 8:11 PM

That is really awesome! I have just become one of your students! Looks wonderful! And I'm sure J.R. Had a blast!

jane g meyer replied:
October 7, 2015 @ 1:25 PM

Yes, please be a 4th grader with me! So fun...

james anthony said:
October 7, 2015 @ 11:57 AM

Those artist that we consider as "The Masters" didn't just run to the local art supply store to buy all their paints!

jane g meyer replied:
October 7, 2015 @ 1:27 PM

In my research it's fascinating learning about all the discoveries over time for making substances one can paint with, and how often those substances were either toxic or lethal. Some colors were so stunning that artists were willing to risk their lives to use them. I'm excited about doing some work with an iconographer a little later this year, and learning about some of the ground minerals she uses... Such a fascinating study--this one of color...

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