This past weekend, John and I went to one of our favorite produce stores in Berkeley, Monterey Market. I gave him his half of the list to go gather fruits and veggies for the following week, and told him I would get the other half. When we met back up, he looked at what I had gathered up and said “why so many onions”, then, looking more closely, said incredulously, “why do you have three bags of onion skins?”
What would you suppose I’d be whenever I’m grocery shopping? Well, while I’m doing my shopping, I am also looking out for scraps from onion skins inside the display box.
One day, another shopper asked if I was cooking with the skins. After explaining to her that I used the onion skins to dye fabric, she gave me a bewildered look. Really?
For this project, I applied Shibori techniques to bed linens. Shibori is a method of resist-dyeing which includes twisting, binding, and clamping the fabric before dyeing. I have a dark colored dye bath made with spent eucalyptus leaves and barks, walnut hulls and onion skins. The bundle was boiled for 2 hours and let to sit outside overnight. When I opened the bundles, I was happy to see the outcome. The circles with radiating streaks of ochre yellow, sage green and deep brown has an organic appearance and seems to have a life of its own–almost magical and ethereal.
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“A smile is worth a thousand words, live happy, dye happy”.