Yesterday, I arrived at Craftstitute with the intention of cleaning and starting a sample knit for a class only to find Erika already there, gleefully rubbing her hands over a caldron of bubbling acorns. Okay, no hand rubbing, but it is October so a caldron is fitting.
One thing I love about Erika is her intention. If she sends you an article about dyeing with acorns, and you demonstrate some enthusiasm (by sending her pictures of your growing collection of acorns for this purpose), she will set up that dye pot without hesitation. She had warned me that we were in the "patience & documented experimentation" phase and that I shouldn't expect that rich dark purple-black right away. In fact, I think she directed me to visualize inhaling and exhaling colors - meditation for the eager dyer.
What we got was a washy puce color. Exactly what you expect from natural dyes and far from the color that made my eyes pop when I read that first article. Erika shrugged it off and I realized how spoiled I am by her fifteen years of dyeing with indigo. She knows exactly how to make the indigo pot sing, and we benefit from her extensive experience by having our first attempts with an indigo vat create very successful end results. Her natural curiosity has her turning to other natural mediums to achieve rich colors and I get to see it from the beginning. Where she has her dye books open all over the table and she is experimenting with a dye bath that creates the magic.
I am a result person who has to remind herself to embrace the process. I will always actively have to remind myself to step back and appreciate the journey that takes me to the finished product. Luckily, I'm hanging out with process people who aren't bothered by failed attempts and spend lots of time trying to identify where the experiment went wrong. I'm inhaling pink and exhaling blue, and thinking all the while that purple is one of my favorite colors.
And also that I have to collect a lot more acorns.
p.s. I hope that Erika has some pictures to add because in the fog of my cold forgot to pull out my phone and snap some.