Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Thistles and colour
I have walked past these beautiful purple thistles for several days without photographing them, but they stand as tall as me in some places a glorious defiant act of wildflowers showing their strength. Their rough steely buds and great jagged leaves a good defense, even Moss lifts his leg with delicate care against their roughness.
Its the purple colour that strikes the dyer's eye at first, a good soft natural colour, but it is the silver of the buds that sets the purple to an exquisite tone, dye with an artificial acid dye, and the colour becomes too strong. Elderberry which will also dye a soft purple, has the habit of fading from the wool after a few months.
The original purple dye, used from very early times was the murex snail, great vats of these creatures were left to rot, and the produced a deep blood red dye mixed if I have it right with another 'indigo' type snail to produce the empirical purple so loved by the romans.
These August colours also make a beautiful palette, soft browns and greens, highlighted with the yellow of ragwort.