Results of the alchemical rose experiment

Posted: March 9, 2014 by Mo Crow in It's Crow Time
Tags: , ,

3-rose-booksAim: to investigate the alchemy of dyeing with rose petals and leaves on books

Method: interleave rose petals and leaves between the pages of 3 bundles of bound & unbound text blocks
bind the bundles with rose petals, leaves, stems & string in a big steel pot
add a piece of bound rusty iron as the mordant and fill the spaces with the rest of the rose petals
add lukewarm water, heat the pot gently to hot but not boiling for 90 minutes, turn off and allow to cool over night
remove bundles from pot, untie, dry and bind

Materials: 14 long stemmed Mr Lincoln roses
found piece of old rusty iron
flax & nettle string for binding bundles
paper interfacing & linen thread for binding old rusty iron
text block for crow book- acid free cartridge & Stonehenge watercolour paper
Rose Book 1- rough watercolour paper, acid free cartridge text pages, Moulin de Larroque handmade watercolour paper, nettle string
Rose Book 2- acid free cartridge text pages, Moulin de Larroque handmade watercolour paper, nettle string

Result: Rose Book 1 – the tea stained rough water watercolour produced a soft pink but indistinct print
the text block of spare acid free cartridge was dyed by interleaving Rose Book 2 in the drying process
Rose Book 2 – this book was bound with an oriental side stitch binding before immersion but was cut & unbound to dry
the carved cover did not enjoy the immersion
the pattern on the spare front cover & back cover was achieved by binding rose stems round the bundles which acted as as resist
Crow Book 3 text block- the acid free cartridge produced very clear results, this book was wrapped in silk, rose stems & flax string

Conclusion: I was hoping to make some beautifully perfumed books
this didn’t happen but massaging the covers of Rose Books 1 & 2 with Jurlique Hand cream does the job
I will do the same on the Stonehenge watercolour paper front & back pages for Crow Book 3
here’s the link to India Flint’s post from a couple of years ago which inspired me to try
you can see more details of my process herehere, here & here
and here’s some more photos
3-rose-books-1Text Block for Crow Book 3, Rose Book 1 and Rose Book 2 by Mo 2014
text-block-for-crow-book-3a soft print on Stonehenge watercolour paper 245 gsm will be the front page of Crow Book 3
rose-petal-printsthe clarity of the petal prints on the acid free cartridge is a surprise
rose-petal-book-1-insidethe rough tea stained watercolour paper produced a subtle print and the acid free cartridge used for drying the text block of Rose Book 2 made a pale  purple blue print
rose-book-no-2-insidethe clarity of the prints on the acid free cartridge is quite lovely
This has whetted my curiosity to explore some of these ideas further in early January 2015 when I attend India Flint & Roz Hawker’s Bower Bird Blues workshop

  1. Carol says:

    Wow, Mo! Looking just wonderful. After watching this process from start to finish, I must say I’m fascinated with the end results. Really beautiful. And I thought you were joking about rubbing the hand cream into the covers but obviously that works too!

  2. you cannot possibly know how it feels to read all this here in New Mexico on a Saturday Night.
    i LOVE your insatiability to know, to Find Out.
    and this is so soft…so soft, like love is soft
    and to read that you will be a BowerBird….o…just so o

    • Mo Crow says:

      we ran a parallel journey with our respective works over the last few days Grace! catching the idea, running with it through the ups and downs of expectations and letting go to resolving the material issues and then seeing where they go next… what a ride!

  3. margaret johnson says:

    Mo, the results are Lovely. Really love all the soft colours. Will have to jump out of my scaredy-cat cage, and have a go! ox

  4. yes….soft and the hand cream trick is lovely. I often spray things with rose spray..Hey hey Mo~!.

  5. Jan says:

    I hope you continue with your dyeing experiments! This is such an inspiring idea. I can never seem to get the range of colours that other people get with dyeing; and my paper dyeing always seems to be disappointing. Your results here have got me thinking how I can slip some paper into the pomegranate bath I’ve got going at the moment; firing up my creative juices. Thank you.

  6. Valerianna says:

    Love the subtleties…. wonderful. and the idea of scenting them, love that, too. I often put essential oils on my clothes, near my nose so I can smell throughout the day. Some stay well on fibers… Happy alchemizing!

  7. jude says:

    wow, great results…. have yet to open my paper bundles….

  8. Overall, I think it was a marvelous experiment, Mo. Thanks so much for going into detail about the process and steps. The prints on what you call cartridge paper are beautifully intriguing, and I also like the resist effect of the stems.

  9. saskia says:

    this is all so very exciting, love the process, love the results; lucky you to be in an India and Roz class!!

    • Mo Crow says:

      even though I was after perfume not colour I am happy with the results & look forward to exploring this further in the workshop with India & Roz. I am not a dyer by nature as I prefer drawing to making random marks but there is a lot of potential to explore colour wise.

  10. perlhuhn52 says:

    For me it sounds rather complicated but the result is so beautiful, love it, Mo!

    • Mo Crow says:

      Thanks for visiting Doris! pencil and pen are a more direct way of making marks for me but there is a magic in the element of chance that is worth exploring

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