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Monday, January 15, 2018

Clitoria Ternatea or Butterfly Pea Flower

I must confess - I love nothing more than to "putter."  With my love of color, fiber and fabrics it is never a problem and always provides a 'high.'   This could be looked at as a waste of time, but not to me.   Since the New Year, I feel as though I'm hibernating and haven't had the interest to begin huge new projects so in the meantime, I must do what I do; I would go mad without having a color or fiber fix.  I know from experience that this lull is a necessary restoring of energy that I think we all must do from time to time - a lot of it may have to do with all the energy expended prior to the holidays.  There are ideas germinating but I don't really have the urge to go fast forward so I've been reading - a lot - an opportunity to catch up with my books and blogs and one of the most interesting things I came across on Pinterest is the Butterfly Pea Flower (Clitoria Ternatea).  This is a flower that grows in Southeast Asia and the common name which I found fascinating is Asian Pigeon Wings belonging to the Fabascea family.  Of course, I had to have some - you can make drinks and food that change color depending on the ph. and I plan to use it for this for special drinks and desserts!  

I freeze blue flowers to use for eco painting/printing and dyeing so when I found this recently, I was excited to try using it as a dye.  It is such a pretty color, that I wondered about how it would work on paper and fabric so I tried on silk, paper and wool, mordanted and unmordanted and had a great time.

Butterfly Pea Flower is sold as a tea but can also be used to color food and drinks; there are several brands on Amazon, some more expensive than others.  I steeped the flowers in hot water but I did read that it can be more effective heating with the microwave so I tried that and didn't find much difference.

Experiment Conclusions:   
On paper:  Blue (lovely periwinkle color) using straight tea; violet when lemon is added; green when baking soda is added.  I found that painting on after eco printing has interesting effects depending on the mordant used.

On silk:  I had high hopes I could make this work by being patient and mordanting first.  The most success I had was with Uzbec silk (unmordanted) which is very fine; the results were best when dipped, left for a while then steam ironed - I washed it several times and it kept its color;however, a ph neutral soap must be used for this or the color will change.   When I tried habotai, the color didn't last.  It looked beautiful at first but faded quickly.  

On wool:  I tried a scrap of prefelt - it did not hold the color at all

Promise to Myself

I'm making a promise to myself to update my blog once a month if not more.  It is a great way to keep track of what you have been up to when looking back.  Facebook has become that, but posts and pictures tend to get lost in the shuffle and when you experiment as much as I do, it helps your efforts to become clarified - rather like making something that you are not quite sure of and leaving it for a while to come and revisit later.

Our Fiber Group had a show and sale in Bluffton in early November at SoBA - it is a wonderful location for foot traffic - both for locals as well as out of town visitors. But the space is really too small for our needs.  Although we love being there, we want to grow our fiber group; new members inject much needed inspiration, new work and new expertise which will keep us from getting stale so the need for a larger venue is one that our group spends a lot of time thinking and talking about.  The members of our group are so talented with everyone having their own approach to working with fiber.

This was created for an auction to benefit a local elementary school - it has a variety of locks, a felted flower and glittered feathers to add some 'bling.'