at the


New Mexico

September 29, 2010


The MUSHROOM DYEING WORKSHOP  in Taos, by Dorothy Beebee

all photos are © Laura Lomax, (unless otherwise noted)

We were gathered at a Taos Wool Festival workshop, eager to explore the possiblities offered by three mushroom species, Dermocybe semi-sanguinea for reds and rose hues, Phaeolus schweinitzii for yellow and green, and Omphalotus olivascens for violet, blue, and green shades on fibers of wool and silk. We also experimented with dyeing other fibers such as mohair, soy silk, banana & silk, and bamboo. The only mordants used were alum and iron; pH changes were accomplished using white vinegar and washing soda, expanding our range of possible color from just these three dried mushrooms.



The dried red-gilled Dermocybes from Oregon delighted us with their dyes on wool and silk samples premordanted with alum and iron, adding some white vinegar to the final rinses.

(Photo © D. Beebee)

We used dried Phaeolus schweinitzii from Oregon, and dyed skeins of wool premordanted with Alum and Iron.
Alum mordant and Iron mordant on wool dyed with the Phaeolus.
Then a few Dermocybe mushrooms were added to some leftover Phaeolus dye, to make an orange on alum mordanted wool!
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Dried Omphalotus olivascens from California were simmered to make violet dye on alum mordanted wool, and dark forest green on iron mordanted wool. But then the "afterbaths" with this dye produced some beautiful blues after we adjusted the pH to 9 using washing soda. These became more turquoise in hue on the alum mordanted wool and a deep teal blue on iron, with each subsequent afterbath.



photo by D. Beebee

Photos are courtesy of © Laura Lomax, Raton, New Mexico

Paintings © by D. Beebee

This Mushroom Dye Webpage was updated May 14, 2011)

All rights reserved, Dorothy M. Beebee, 2011