Experiments in Dyeing with Lichens

I’ve been collecting wind fall lichens around my yard and on hikes for several years now, so I finally decided to get off my butt and try dyeing with some. I’ve done chlorine tests on a few with mixed results, and eventually figured what the heck, I’ll just try some with the ammonia fermentation method of dye extraction and see what I get.

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I took several glass gallon jars and loosely filled them about 4/5 of the way with lichen. One is Evernia prunastri, also known as oak moss lichen. I believe the other two are variants of shattered shield lichens. One bunch is from fruit trees in my yard, and the other are wind falls from douglas fir forests that I picked up from forest paths while hiking.



I added enough water and ammonia to fill each jar to around the shoulder level, leaving plenty of space at the top so I can shake it and aerate it. I used 1 part ammonia to 2 parts water.



Now I get to shake the jars once a day, and hopefully I’ll see some color changes over the next several weeks. I’ll be letting them ferment for around three months before attempting to dye anything.

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Crossing my fingers… and I’ll try to post when I start to see changes!