Well we did it… Our ‘Open September’ has come to an end, and what a grand success. Coming out of lockdown and with a very limited growing season, we managed with a lot of kindness and help to open ‘BALCONYLIFE A Collection and Nomadic Dye Garden’ to the public.
With the final week approaching, unsurprisingly we had the weather on our mind. We have been particularly blessed with the best September weather anyone could have asked for – sunshine, shorts and a bit of a tan. Annoyingly the threat of wind and rain loomed over our Autumn Harvest Festival, but we didn’t let that put us off. Tuesday was the Equinox which we celebrated with a harvest bundle event. I was like a small kid waiting for Santa arrive, having spent 4 weeks in the garden with no fire at all and finally the day to light it had arrived! Unfortunately with Covid rearing it’s head again, we decided to adopt Noah’s plan and invited participants to arrive two by two so we didn’t have any bottlenecks in preparation areas and everyone could stay and enjoy the afternoon.
What a great day… friends, fire and festivities, all observing distanced etiquette. The dye pot was filled with eucalyptus releasing that glorious aroma. An excess of rusty nails in the bundles did cause the beautiful bronze colour from eucalyptus on silk to turn darker but that meant we did achieve some fantastic black marks on the scarves.
The Japanese indigo (Persicara Tinctoria), which was lovingly raised by Jenny Dean and religiously watered and tended by Jonny Dredge, had finally reached its harvest day. Originally we had planned to film the three methods of processing the leaves – salt, ice or vinegar but unfortunately ‘rain halted play’. This was the first real turn in the weather so we put on every layer we had in the studio and braced ourselves. We only used the vinegar process in the end and we were definitely happy with the sample silk hankies we dyed and the beautiful teal colour we achieves. An even bigger surprise was the colour we managed to get on a large piece of silk crepe using the Japanese indigo exhaust dye.
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