Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Adventures in Dyeing

After days of solid gray rain, I woke up this morning to a warm sun teasing its way through the golden hazelnut leaves outside my window. A perfect day for mushrooming.

Some kind of Russula, I believe
After breakfast, I biked to my favorite pond, where there were a few dozen varieties of funghi popping up. I was looking for a big patch, enough for a batch of dye for basket reeds. I had brought a guide book that a friend had given me as a thank-you present for lending her my cabin while I was traveling (The Rainbow Beneath My Feet, by Arleen Rainis Bessette and Alan E. Bessette), but I couldn't find any of the species mentioned in the book. So instead I harvested two large patches of unidentified mushrooms, as well as some salal berries and huckleberries.

The white-hot reed in the center is undyed
Back at home, I fired up Di's dyeing pot and tossed in the first batch of mushrooms. Once they'd stewed for an hour, I added some reeds. What emerged an hour later was a beautiful tangle of warm pinkish-brown, a true "mushroom" color.

The second batch of reeds just came out. They're still wet, and I can't yet tell what color they'll be, but I can already feel a creativity salon coming on...

Potato basket woven from mushroom-dyed reeds


  1. Very cool Kerr! Can't wait to see the basket when it's done....MCR

  2. I'll post a pic for you. Basket weaving is harder than they make it out to be.