Monday, 10 October 2016

Beetroot Dyeing

The first of two posts today.

12 Monoprint from Wet Dinner Plate

The other day I bought some fresh beetroot and decided to chuck some other stuff into the pan with it when I was steaming it, because I know how much colour comes out of them when you cook them, and I hated to pour all that glorious colour down the drain! I cook beetroot with the root and stalks still on, so I didn’t have any worries about putting non-food things in with them! They peel beautifully once they are cooked and you can trim off the ends then, too.

I selected a few bits and pieces at random – some sheets of kitchen paper, some recycled crochet lace, a small skein of natural hand-spun wool, and a sheet of watercolour paper that I tore into four smaller pieces.

01 White Stuff for Dyeing


This is what they looked like straight out of the pot.

02 Out of the Pot

It’s strange how some materials take up dye differently from others – the papers came out lovely and pink, but the lace and wool were distinctly grey-ish brown and dirty looking!

I left them all on the kitchen drainer to dry.

03 Drying the Papers

The plate that I dumped them all onto out of the pan had some juice on it, so I mono-printed this off onto another sheet of kitchen paper, and the result is quite nice.

04 Monoprint of Remaining Juice

Just so that you can see that my time wasn’t entirely wasted on frivolous pursuits, here are the beetroots after cooking! (They are delicious, by the way – one of my favourite combinations is fresh cooked beetroot with Cheshire cheese. Yum yum.)

05 Steamed Beetroots

Here’s all the stuff after it was dried.

06 Stuff Dyed and Dried

The lace hasn’t taken up much colour but there are a few pink spots here and there, and the wool is quite an interesting colour – also with a few pink spots. I am sure I can use these or something.

07 Lace and Handspun Wool

The watercolour papers are lovely, and once they are flattened out, very useable, I think.

08 Watercolour Paper

I particularly like how the dye has been taken up along the torn edge – it looks almost singed.

09 Torn Edge of Watercolour Paper

Here are a couple of the pieces of kitchen paper.

10 Kitchen Paper 1

11 Kitchen Paper 2

Also very useable. With my coloured kitchen papers, I always split the two plies apart and get double for my money. I always save all my kitchen roll that I use for mopping up ink – it can be applied with gel medium for lovely colour and texture, or torn into little pieces and collaged, etc. etc. It almost looks like fabric.

Finally, here’s the mono-print piece. I really like this.

12 Monoprint from Wet Dinner Plate

I have an idea that these would be nice with Zentangles on them.

One thing to be aware of is that it is most unlikely that these pieces will be light-fast – no mordant was used, and they’re just coloured vegetable water! For use in albums and other such pieces that don’t get a lot of light exposure, they should be fine.

1 comment:

  1. Great idea and I've also learned how to cook beetroot! I always just get the pickled ones - they can stain too and I expect the vinegar probably fixes the colour. Must try! Looking forward to your zentangles on those pink mottled backgrounds!


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