Dye With Me

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by Brady and Erin Raymond

As the rains begin soaking in and temperatures start to drop don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled this fall for dye mushrooms.  We often get so consumed with finding the consumables we forget that mushrooms have other uses too.  If you are into cooking and you like crafting, specifically with animal fiber, dyeing with mushrooms may be right up your alley.  Here’s a quick run down and if you’re interested check out the links at the end of the post for more info.

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Dyeing to Cross the Rainbow Bridge

AA DyeTuesday, September 12th- 7:30PM

 Monthly Meeting

Doors open at 6:30 pm at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Come early and bring any mushrooms you want identified!

It has been nearly 50 years since the first publication on using wild mushrooms to produce dyes for textiles. What started as a curious discovery by a natural dyer caught like wildfire through the 1970’s but then smoldered for another 20 years… until the dawn of social media. Alissa Allen will take us on a journey through the past, present and future of mushroom dyeing. She is an avowed mushroom missionary, spreading enthusiasm for mycology by enticing unsuspecting fiber enthusiasts to the darkest corners of the forest, in quest for color. On this journey, curious adventurers can’t help but be enchanted by the colorful and charismatic fungi along the way, and become entangled in the web of mycology. You will see magical transformation of color born from seemingly mundane mushrooms and learn new ways to illuminate the hidden spectrum found in your own fungal wonderland. Whether you are a fiber artist, a forager or a citizen scientist, mushroom dyes can work for you.

Alissa Allen is an amateur mycologist and the founder of Mycopigments. She specializes in teaching about regional mushroom and lichen dye palettes to fiber artists and mushroom enthusiasts all over the country. Alissa got her start right here at PSMS in 1999 and has been sharing her passion for mushrooms for over 15 years. She has written articles for her website as well as Fungi Magazine and Fibershed. In 2015 she created the Mushroom and Lichen Dyers United discussion group and The Mushroom Dyers Trading Post. These groups have grown into a community of over 5000 members. Alissa uses brilliant colors found in mushroom dyes to entice people to take a closer look at mushrooms and their relationship within the ecosystem. To read more about her work, visit http://mycopigments.com.

Mushroom Dyes 3- Experimenting

yarn-rainbow

by Erin Raymond

Once you are comfortable with the dye process, starting to play around with changing colors is really fun and adds a whole new level of excitement when dyeing with mushrooms.  Adjusting your mushroom dyes is most commonly achieved by altering the pH.  This can be done directly in the simmering dye bath or after in a separate bath, in which case no simmering is needed.  To do this, you will need pH paper (I got mine on Amazon) and something to make your dye more alkaline or acidic.  To increase the pH, I use washing soda and to decrease the pH, I use white vinegar.  Ammonia can also be used to make an alkaline bath, but you need to be sure not to breathe in any of the vapors and the dye bath tends to become more neutral faster than with washing soda.  When using washing soda, be sure to only add 1/8th tsp at a time, checking the resulting pH.

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