Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Coreopis Tinctoria

I remember my excitement when I first had coreopsis tinctoria, as it gives such wonderful shades of yellows and oranges . So I persuaded Enys to plant lots in my garden. All over this summer Enys and I have been picking the flower heads and drying them. Getting ready to a jewellery workshop last week I decided I could do with some clear bright oranges for felt beads. Casually I tipped the latest bag of dried flowers that Enys had brought round, from her garden into a pan covered them with water and put on a low heat. I popped in a handful of mordanted teeswater at the same time to see what colour came out. Usually it is a yellow that goes to a orange with ammonia. Look what I got this time! An orange that has given an orangey red with ammonia. Yummy. Mind you it is probably about 300% of flower heads to fibres so I shall treasure it. In the meantime it is a colour to brighten up a dull September day! And cheer me up as having nearly set the studio on fire last November yesterday I flooded it. One of the brass taps on my old chemistry lab bench sprung a leak or being more realistic I did not quite turn it off and the studio was literally two inches deep in water yesterday. It took DH and I about an hour an d a half to get rid of all the water but as I had to clear out all my boxes it now looks quite clean and tidy.

Yesterday we had a lovely sunny afternoon and here are some photos I took of my favourite dog walk. The hills are often part of my landscapes , although at the moment I am doing a series of hills and stormy skies.


  1. Whow! Those are beautiful colours. The views aren't bad either.

  2. Those colors are gorgeous!!

    Can you give a few more details about how you used the ammonia? (Did you do an afterdip, or something else)

    I'm always wondering about the stability of colors that were obtained with afterdips. In your experience, does the color permanently shift, or does it need to be redipped from time to time (say, after washing)?

  3. What glorious color! I love it. I love the photos of the country side too. :)

  4. lucky you - the colours are stunning! my coreopsis didn't like the irish summer this time and grew stunted and only gave a few meazly flowers:(( I think your orange would qualify as neon:)) good thing really, it might brighten your mood after having to deal with the flooding... one advantage of dyeing in the kitchen - I have to pass through it and would notice the water immediately. the downside - e.g. at the moment a rather yucky smell as I am reaheating the avocado jars:)well, you can't win them all!

  5. Hi evergreenknits In this case I added a glug of ammonia to the dye bath and gave it some gentle heat. I find it is permanent. It does not need to be redipped but I have had some anecdotal evidence that colours treated with ammonia are not as lightfast.

    Coreopis seems to need lots of sun and dry soil. It has not grown very well in my garden until we started the new bed this summer which is in full sun.

    bettina, There are some other disadvantages to having a separate studio, apart form flooding it and nearly burning it down - forgetting a bath is on and leaving it overnight. This matters when it is madder! :(

  6. Beautiful color - I also got a nice orange but a more subtle tone. Very nice!