Friday, 23 February 2007

A while since I was here

First published 9/07/2006

A while since I was here, mainly getting on with things, life being more than my meanderings with pigments.

The lakes have gone well, in that I am pretty convinced I have the handle on brazil and weld. Weld does indeed give a bright yellow pigment, no surprise really since it yields a yellow dye.

A few weeks back I picked up a rather small, dried yellow stalk of weld from a Little Chef or some other non-descript road side 'food' place and absently put it into my back pocket. An hour's drive later to Hampshire to visit some friends, we were en route back from Ilminster and wanted to break our journey in Headley, I was asked by wife and wife's friend why I had strange yellwo streaks on the back of my new trendy shirt. The little stalk of weld had, with the sweat of my back, leeched out a very fine and deep yellow, much to my wife's chagrin, as it was she that had gifted me the shirt in the first place. But instead of being contrite I was jubilant because I had noticed that the yellow was a much deeper sort than I had previously managed to get from green weld. Anyway as the yellow wasn't mordanted to the shirt it was washed out easily enough. A subsequent conversation with a traditional dyer revealed that she had too suspected a yield difference, yet because the dry old past-seed weld looks washed out there was an assumption of less colour. The two of us had that odd look of revelation about us as we imagined the increased value of the yields for dyeing and pigment making, respectively.

My soon to be four year old daughter is now a weld afficionado, a veteran of a good half dozen weld gathering missions in various parts of Suffolk and Hampshire, she can spot a clump of weld as well as I can.

I am worrying that the late summer months become a bit of a haze of me keeping a watch out for clumps of the stuff, sadly much of this fantastic plant grows along the hard shoulder or other equally inconvenient places that I can't stop at. Imagine my sheer frustration when being caught in an hour long traffic jam outside Newmarket and seeing the largest clumps of Weld to my left, I was in the inside lane, so could have stepped out in a mad frenzy of weld gathering, but refrained, but next time.

for those who want to see this plant but not want to be travelling at 70 mph to do so can check out weld here.

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