Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday's Millinery Musings - Deep in Dye

By guest blogger Jennifer Whitmer

To prepare for my flower making and hat workshop at Art Unraveled next month, I have been deep in the dye. It is my job to dye lots of silk charmeuse for the students flower-making adventure. It starts in this unglamorous way outside under the arbor. You've been under the arbor with me before.

I can never seem to FOCUS and mix up just a few colors. Who can do that? When one can choose from the most  luscious colors in the world: plum blossom, robin's egg blue, palomino gold, rose red, chartreuse, raspberry, deepdeep eggplant, black cherry, moss green, citrus yellow....and those wine colors: burgundy, bordeaux, claret....honestly, who can choose only a few? Believe me, this is a partial list. This is a few. I used many more.

My husband, Dave, is an acupuncturist and herbalist. He makes unique Chinese herbal formulas for his patients. He recycles the empty herb bottles to me and they are perfect for mixing dye powders. A good shake quickly mixes them up and I can move right on to the fun part: dyeing what is white any color imaginable. I use fiber reactive dyes from Dharma Trading Company.

I am not a professional dyer. Professional dyers would cringe at my technique (zero technique), which is to spill or squirt on the dye and see what happens. Oh, sometimes I'm more "artistic" and twist, scrunch, or fold the fabric. But let me make something absolutely clear: I don't know what I'm doing. Gratefully, I don't.

The students will make beautiful roses with these shimmering silks. I hope they go on to dye their own fabrics and experience the joy of working with color. To celebrate the students, and you, dear readers, I'd like to share with you a special rose recipe:

Rose Petal and Almond Restorative Drink
1.  Soak 8 raw almonds in 1 cup of water overnight.
2.  In the morning, save 1/2 c of the soaking water and rub the skins off the almonds.
3.  In a blender put:   
    1/2 c almond soaking water
    the 8 soaked almonds
    3/4 c milk (or "milks" made from soy, almond, or rice)
    6 or 8 organic rose petals
    tiny pinch of saffron
    pinch of cardamom (optional)
    1/2 tsp honey (or to taste)
4.  Whiz it all together.
5.  Sip slowly under the arbor, if you have one, and enjoy immensely.

Serves 1

No comments: