teloschistes exilis

24 Oct

A quick picture post, more words later.

Below is my dye experiments with teloschistes exilis or slender orange bush lichen. It took over two years to collect 2 ounces of this windfall lichen plus one big damaging wind storm. The substrate is silk. I now know this process works as well on silk as well as wool!

The lichen was soaked for about two months in one part ammonia and 2 part water. An amazing solar photosynthesis happens when you allow the skein to dry slowly in the sun.

If anyone can provide input/resources on the chemical reaction taking place please let me know. For now, I am enjoying the color! Of course if I want to keep the pink I would allow the skein to dry in the shade.

See the time lapse below for the transformation from pink to blue.





This final photo show the two original skeins, the one on the left was rinsed with vinegar, in other words I took the ph down. The one on the right was the one which went to blue under the sun!

14 Responses to “teloschistes exilis”

  1. tazemoo October 24, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    that was cool!!!!!! you rock. Bettes


  2. velma October 24, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    very cool! wonderful experiment and glad of the photos. i don’t know the chemistry, but have had some similar fun myself with umbilicaria.


  3. donnadyesandweaves October 25, 2012 at 12:15 am #

    That is absolutely incredible!!

    Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2012 22:16:11 +0000 To:


  4. Vanessa Luce October 25, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    All beautiful colors. I love the pinks. Mom


  5. Rosemary October 25, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    Simply amazing! Nice slide show!


  6. Marge Sume October 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    How exciting! Who knew? Love the lichen plant.


  7. Letitia October 26, 2012 at 12:42 am #

    You are a rock star!!


  8. Ambra October 27, 2012 at 2:48 am #

    The same happens with Xanthoria, althought I have yet to try it. Wish I knew the chemistry stuff behind it.


  9. mojoquilts October 27, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    What fun…I’ve tried dyeing with lichen but my results were dismal. I’ll have to revisit it. But don’t know if I have your patience!!


    • debmcclintock October 27, 2012 at 11:02 am #

      I think patience is key in lichen, both in collecting the windfall AND waiting the 40-60 days for the fermentation!


  10. creativespinning October 27, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Wow! Am reluctant to do much with lichens here in the UK because we have a very vociferous anti doing anything at all, ever with them! Even if you are going to burn a log on the fire, they say not to use lichens because their reproductive systems aren’t not yet totally understood and it could be that burning jump starts something….


    • debmcclintock October 27, 2012 at 11:04 am #

      Yes, I’ve read about those laws. Too bad, I’m careful about only using windfall.


  11. Sandra Rude October 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Wonderful colors, and what an interesting shift! I had no idea lichens were so light-sensitive.


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