I recently learned about “compost dyeing” through buying an e-book from Kimberly Baxter Packwood, so though I would give it a go. I used a piece of old sheeting, quite lightweight and rather worn after constant use. I made a bundle using a few previously used pieces of pomegranate skin and a few fresh radish slices, a small piece of copper pipe and a bit of fine rusted wire, with elastic bands to hold it together. I soaked it in vinegar solution and then buried it in the compost heap for a week.
I have become more and more interested in trying out plant dyes, particularly as I have so many possibilities growing in the garden. There were a couple of old red cabbages that had bolted, so having researched the web and found references to making bundles (thanks especially to Wendy Feldberg), this is how I decided to proceed. All bundles were first soaked in a 20-25 % vinegar solution, then steamed for a couple of hours. turning the bundle over half way through. I unwrapped them the following day. I know some people leave them for much longer – I should experiment, but am impatient by nature!
I had heard so much about West Dean and seized the chance to go there. The course, with Dale Devereux Barker, was brilliant. We started by using resists and stencils on the lino, which was first inked up, and then printed using a press. My favourite effect was obtained by removing the resist or stencil and then printing a second time, so as to get a much more ethereal effect.