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1 June 2021 - 9 June 2021

Dye Experiment Workshop, Aalto University

This workshop focuses on the reconstruction of some of the most popular colours of the early seventeenth century that we have found in the Refashioning data, such as golden yellow, black and purple, and investigates what historical recipes could be used to reconstruct these in contemporary setting.

The first part of the workshop focuses on the reconstruction of colours of our knitted stockings, which were created by voluntary knitters in our participatory research project. The aim is to dye 1 silk stocking in black, 1 silk and 1 wool stocking in golden yellow, and a pair of woollen stockings in red. Since our fibre analysis of the original 17th-century silk stocking from Turku demonstrated that the stocking had been originally black, we will investigate, first, how we can achieve a similar stunning black with logwood without risking to damage the silk stocking or failing the result.

We will then, second, test what kind of golden yellows and reds we can achieve by using fustic and madder. The second part of the workshop investigates the use of Nordic lichen to create purple. We know from documentation that, while ‘pavonazzo’ purple tended to be an expensive colour created by using kermes or crimson dyes, beautiful purples could be achieved in a cheaper way by using orchil. The preparation involves preparing a lichen vat, which is laborious and time-consuming, so preparations need to take palce two weeks prior the experimentation. Dr. Krista Vajanto from Helsinki University, who is an expert on historical dyes and their chemical composition, has given us some domestic lichen dye and instructs us in the process.