Tinctorium

Tinctorium is a mobile textile dye studio devoted to foraging for colors in forests, fields and urban environments. The intention, rather than depict a particular landscape, was to allow the forest to determine the color palate and aesthetics of the work. This project was undertaken during residencies at The Shandaken Project / Storm King Sculpture Park, Pioneer Works, Ensayos / Karukinka Natural Park, and Hotel Pupik

Foraging guide: Leave enough behind to ensure a good amount of seeds can replant themselves. In the case of weeds or invasives (mugwort) take as much as possible. Mushrooms–don’t disrupt the mycelia. Lichens–take no more than 10%, unless it’s on firewood or has fallen to the forest floor. If it’s on private property, ask. 

Some recipes:

1/3 cup lichens (a species of xanthoria)
1 oz 25% ammonia
1.5 c water
shake daily to aerate
light purple

approximately 100 1 cent and 2 cent euro coins (copper coated steel)
3 tablespoons 25% ammonia
1.5 liters water
30 mg sheeps wool
3 weeks time
greenish blue

2 pieces rusty iron farm hardware
1 liter water
2tbsp concentrated vinegar
used to darken other colors

1/2 bushel nettles, coarsely cut
1 1/2 gallons water
50 mg wool
4 mg alum
pale green

1 1/2 c parmelia lichen
soak over night in 3 cups water
triple boil
bright orange

3 cups of evernia lichen, harvested from deadfall on forest floor
boil to extract color
peach to orange

yarrow, entire plant, 8 cups chopped
12 cups water
2 hours on the fire
alum mordant
greenish yellow

yarrow flowers only, 5 cups
10 cups water
alum mordant
very bright yellow

black walnuts, young, in hulls, harvested in early summer
simmer 2 hours on fire
very dark brown, no mordant needed
lighter to orange with successive after baths

cast iron pot
oak galls
mugwort
mordant wool in salt water from Brooklyn waterfront
blue/gray on cotton, greenish blue on wool depending on the mordant

tin pot
goldenrod
mordant wool in salt water from Brooklyn waterfront
bright dark green

copper pot
yarrow, queen anne’s lace, young unopened goldenrod flowers
alum mordant
bright gold

fill half gallon glass jar with poke berries
cover with half vinegar, half water
wait two weeks
mordant wool with salt water from brooklyn waterfront
cold soak two days or more, do not use heat
gold

chicken of the woods (sulphur shelf) mushroom
soak in water overnight
boil to extract color
mordant wool in alum
light tan to orange, deeper when ph shifted with ammonia

phlox flowers and rose petals, fill half gallon jar
cover with half vinegar, half water
wait two weeks
mordant wool with alum or sea water
cold soak two days or more, do not use heat
soak in solution of water and bicarbonate of soda or ammonia solution to adjust ph
bright yellow

fill half gallon jar with gardenia flowers
cover with half vinegar and half water
wait two weeks
mordant wool with alum or sea water
cold soak wool in the jar with the flowers for two days or more, leave in sun for some heat but don’t use much heat
soak in solution of water and bicarbonate of soda or ammonia solution to adjust ph
very deep and bright gold

tips of cedar limbs
soak overnight
cook as long as possible
mordant wool in alum
pale yellow

iron pot
young black walnuts, canned
oak gall
mordant wool in sea water
gray

brass pot
turkey tail mushrooms, dried then soaked
mordant wool in sea water
tan, deep reddish brown when ph shifted with bicarbonate of soda

calafate root
rhubarb leaf
false mistletoe
mordant wool in sea water and rain water from a rusty barrel
cover with boiling water
soak over night
adjust ph with bicarbonate of soda
rich reddish brown

pan del indio fungus and barba viejo lichen
soak overnight in seawater with wool, raise temperature of water with sunlight if possible
transfer wool, fungus and lichen to bucket, cover with boiling water
soak as long as possible
pale tan

moss and lichens from the trunk of a dead lenga, enough to fill an average plastic grocery shopping bag
aluminum bucket
cook as long as possible with well water or water from a rusty barrel
mordant wool in sea water from Strait of Magellan
peachy orange

flowers of lupine (chócho), purple only
aluminum pot
cook in well water or water from a rusty barrel for several hours at low temperature, below boiling
mordant wool in water from Strait of Magellan
this will turn wool light green with a bicarbonate of soda ph adjustment
it will turn bones dark blue

pluma del mar
hojas de frutilla del diablo
perjil (? native, grows in the same place as the other two)
soak overnight
mordant wool in water from Strait of Magellan
more pluma del mar yields a bright green, otherwise the color is greenish yellow

vinagrillo (sorrell) flowers
soak overnight in water from rusty barrel
mordant wool in sea water from strait of Magellan
orangey tan, light

mata negra, tips of new growth
rain water from rusty barrel or well water
mordant wool in water from Strait of Magellan
bright, brilliant gold

leaves of lenga and ñirre
soaked overnight
boil hard
wool mordanted in seawater from strait of Magellan
golden brown