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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

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