natural dyeing, peony

deep violet to almost indigo blue, and yellowish stains from peony leaf on pre-mordant cotton.

deep violet to almost indigo blue, and yellowish stains from peony leaf on pre-mordant cotton.

Tree peonies or Paeonia is a flowering plant that can reach an average 4-5 feet in height. It is a woody shrub that is native to Asia, Southern Europe and Western North America. Peonies are an ornamental plant with large and striking flowers that comes in a variety of colors in white, red, and pink. The flowers bloom in late spring and early summer. It is a spectacular plant to have and to enjoy in the garden.

my 4-year old tree peony with big striking red flowers

my 4-year old tree peony with big striking red flowers

Below are results of eco-prints made with this plant on pre-mordant cotton. I used peony, pinweed, borage, and daisy flowers that were pre-soaked in a vinegar bath, prior to putting on the fabric. Then the bundle was steamed in water for about 2 hours in my dye pot. I usually set my bundles out to cool and aged for a couple of days. At times, I get impatience, as it’s hard not to take a peek 🙂

The highlight of the day was untying and peels open the folds of the cloth to see the results under the wet soggy plant materials. Today’s post was one of those moments! The results were great and unpredicted–it was truly another beautiful dyeing journey for me. The magic of eco dyeing is inspiring, and fascinating. I am enthralled by it all.

bundled peony foliage and pinweed in pre-mordant cotton

a yellowish-green from peony leaves

fresh out of the pot–peeling off soggy peony leaves

deep violet to almost indigo blue, and yellowish stains from peony leaf on pre-mordant cotton.

Here, is another experiment using the entire stalk of flower and leaves with other plant material on pre-mordant cotton.

peony with yellow daisy and borage flowers

more blues and greens

*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 happiest.”

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16 Responses to natural dyeing, peony

  1. What did you use for the mordant on the cotton? What spectacular results. Very beautiful.


  2. Marilyn Stephens says:

    Stunning Melinda 😍 just beautiful x


  3. Susan says:

    I am definitely saving this as in 3 months or so, I will have peonies…however they will NOT be a tree!!!


  4. Terriea says:

    Amazing prints of blue-dark. So pretty. Time is ingredient I’ve never have. You made it!


  5. Susan says:

    Love seeing your process and results, colors are so lovely. Do the colors hold up after washing and exposure to sun?


    • mltai says:

      Hi Susan,
      I rinsed it a mild soap and dry in the shade. The outline stays same, with a lighter shade of blue now. Like most natural dye, it does fade overtime in direct sun.


  6. Linda St Angelo says:

    Melinda…. so very beautiful. Love the colors. I just came back from an eco printing class with Nicola in Tucson. It was an absolutely fabulous class. I am so excited and get even more excited when I see your lovely colors in your printing. It is spring now, so I am already scouring the neighborhood looking at all the wonderful greenery to be used. You are so informative with the many diverse plants you use. Thank you so very much.


  7. Rhonda Lynn says:

    Those results are spectacular!! Peony is at it’s peak here in Oregon
    and I think I’d like to try it myself. Can you tell me how you
    prepared your cotton fabric and what you used as a pre-mordant?
    Many thanks ~ Rhonda


  8. mltai says:

    Thanks Rhonda, the cotton was pre-mordant with soy milk


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