starburst, onion skin shibori

starburst in a spiraling pattern

The onion is highly nutritious as it is rich in vitamins, fiber, and minerals. An old remedy that I’d heard was to place half an onion next to the bedside table of someone who is sick to keep the germs away. There is no truth or scientific basis for this telltale story. I think it’s quite harmless in this sort of practice. Sometimes, I would leave my left over onions in the refrigerator to absorb stale odors.

Before you decide to toss those dry papery outer shells from a peeled onion, take this into consideration. Although the skins are not edible, the skins and external layers in onions have substances that are beneficial to one’s health. The onion skin contains Quercetin, a substance that has anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant properties, which can help reduce blood pressure.

The dry onion skins also play an important role in my artwork. I collect them whenever I shop for groceries in the supermarkets. Thanks to my friends, I have an overwhelming supply of onion skins. I used onion skins for eco-printing and dyeing color on fabrics. Depending on the type and amount of skins used in the brew, you’ll get warm tones of colors from golden-yellow to a rich reddish-brown. 

Today’s post is a raw silk table linen printed with onion skins, eucalyptus leaves, and rusty objects. The fabric was bundled using my modified version of a Shibori folding technique by twisting and tying knots to create spiral pattern. It was then boiled in a pot of water with onion skins, and eucalyptus barks.

bursting ring of starburst in shades of dark grey and brown, surrounded with hues of yellowish and orange from onion skins and eucalytpus

love the shades of yellows and orange, and ring of white around the dark ring starburst

colors from red, yellow and white onion skins, the random vertical lines are rendered from folds and creases from bundling.

white lines are prints from tied markings of strings

*Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melinda Tai and Obovate Designs with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Thank you for visiting, I welcome all your comments.

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

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7 Responses to starburst, onion skin shibori

  1. Daniella amit says:

    gorgeous Melinda ! Quite a delicate and harmonious pattern. I love it


  2. Kristin says:

    This one turned out amazing!


  3. Linda St Angelo says:

    Wow. What amazing design. I had to laugh when you mentioned putting the onion by the bed to keep the germs away. My sister swears by this. I had never heard it before she mentioned it. She does it every flu season. I, too, bring home bags of onion skins from the store. People at the checkout stands laugh at me collecting onion skins.


    • mltai says:

      haa, we may have met each other in the supermarkets. Love to see your work, do you have a blog?


      • Linda St Angelo says:

        No I don’t. I would like to start one… don’t have a clue about how to go about it. These last 4 years I have moved 4 times and am moving again in 3 weeks. I have an etsy site….. with nothing on it…. ha-ha. Sold most of my pieces here in Redlands during the holidays & I hope to be putting pieces in etsy shop again, once I have settled down. Hopefully, by the end of February, I will start up again. You know how it is when you are away or unable to practice your art, you start getting anxious to get back to it.


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