unwrapping a gift from the compost pile

colors from compost on silk 

Following up last December’s post; I buried two fabric bundles in which I had wrapped kitchen scrapes: carrots, grapefruit, orange, onion, pomegranate, eucalyptus barks, kale, cabbage, lemon, tea and coffee grains. I buried them in a heap of compost and earth outside in the cold of winter for a month. When I went to recovered it, the bundles were covered with rotten vegetation and crawling critters. The bundles were moist and a bit slimy and smelled very loamy. After rinsing the gunk off with water, I set the two bundles aside until the next morning before opening them.

I was amazed with the results from both of the bundles. Whereas the cellulose fibers in the cotton bundle had started breaking down and had many tears and holes in it, the protein fibers of the silk bundle had remained completely intact.

abstract colors in shades of blue, orange, and yellow

colors from mother nature

brown markings from eucalyptus bark

signs of breaking down and holes from cotton fabric

shades of burgundy red from pomegranate skins and seeds

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“A smile is worth a thousand words, live happy, dye happiest”.

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11 Responses to unwrapping a gift from the compost pile

  1. Linda St Angelo says:

    Just beautiful. I, too, tried my hand at compost dying. The small piece of fabric came out okay. I think I was too impatient. Left it in the compost pile about a week in the heat of the summer. Probably needed to leave it in longer. It is quite a mess isn’t it when you remove it? I remember a magazine article I saw years ago with two women dyeing fabric in rotted fruit, i.e. peaches, apricots etc…. it was some of the most beautiful silk fabric I had ever seen. Sadly, lost the article in all my many moves, but the photo of that fabric was embedded in my mind.


  2. Pingback: a pleasant surprise | Obovate Designs™

  3. Suraya O'Brien says:

    Hello 🙂 I love this idea of compost dyeing! I have a garment that I have made from a thick bamboo jersey knit. Do you think if I did this the fabric would start to decompose? I know I should prob just do a test! But I am impatient haha I want to jump right in, but it would be rather sad if my beautiful garment was ruined 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. AnnIsikArts says:

    Fabulous! I placed a sheet of muslin in a square bed of compost and farmyard manure. When I tried to find it about six months later it had almost completely vanished. All I got was a tiny scrap which tore like paper! I guess I left it too long. I’ll try for a month and with silk next time.


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