Dyeing with Hydnellum aurantiacum

On March 31 we gathered for the third and final dyeing workshop with Ann Harmer (see two previous blog entries for the first two workshops).  The mushroom featured was Hydnellum aurantiacum.


Hydnellum (which has no common name) grows in the forest floor in moss and duff and in sun or shade.   Its upper surface can be brown or sometimes orangey.  This mushroom has a sweet almost fruity fragrance.  It’s woody and is more easily broken off from the ground rather than cut.


The underside is covered with tiny “teeth”.


Ann had soaked dried mushrooms in water overnight.  One pot contained regular well water and the other well water to which washing soda had been added to bring the pH to 12.  To each pot we added two skeins of wool – one mordanted with alum and the other with no mordant.  Then we heated them.


When the wool had coloured we admired the results which were actually deeper and brighter than the photo shows.  The wool on the left was a beautiful dark teal green.


In a third pot containing well water and soaked mushrooms we tried a method which sometimes results in blue.  The pot was carefully monitored as the temperature was brought to 170F and held there for 15 minutes.  Then washing soda was added to bring the pH to 12 and then the wool was added.


We didn’t succeed in getting blue but the wool was dyed a soft grey-green (greener than the photo).


Next the stove was busy with a number of pots.  Copper mordanted skeins of wool were placed in liquid taken from the dye pots of plain well water, water with a pH of 12 and the pot where we’d carried out the special technique described above.  This was repeated with iron mordanted wool.


Here are the results.


Thank you Ann for sharing your knowledge and love of dyeing with mushrooms in these wonderful workshops!

By Heather Apple
Mushroom photos by Ann Harmer

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