The realm of fiber arts is a vast and ever-evolving one, with new techniques and materials being discovered all the time. In recent years, natural dyes have become increasingly popular, with artists utilizing flowers, kitchen spices, and more traditional dyes such as indigo and cochineal for their clothing and home textile lines. Cream of tartar and Glauber salts are often used with mordants to help spread the dye evenly throughout the fiber. In the 1970s, Mendocino textile artists were particularly passionate about a new source of color for their fiber arts: mushrooms. Miriam Rice wrote the booklet Let's Try Mushrooms for Color, published by Thresh Publications in Santa Rosa, California, in late 1974. This was the first known book in the world on the use of dyes in the form of mushrooms, and these inventive ideas soon spread to international fiber artists who were searching for a new source of natural coloring pigments. Encouraged by Mendocino textile artists, Miriam experimented with pigments in the form of mushrooms so that artists could use them in drawings and sketches to complement the watercolors in the form of mushrooms.
The mordants (metal salts) are simmered in a hot water bath to allow molecular bonding with the fiber. In a subsequent dye bath, the pigment from the fungus binds to the fiber mordant, allowing the pigment molecules to form a stronger bond than they would have without the mordant and, therefore, increases the potential for resistance to light and color. In Alameda County, fiber arts encompass fabrics, rugs, sculptures, trees adorned with thread, woven baskets, large installations, tapestries, quilts, dyed t-shirts, delicately embroidered scarves, and ugly Christmas sweaters. What's important to know as an associate working with an artist in your store is that there's no one right way to install or create fiber art. Rice was teaching an art class for children on natural dyes at the Mendocino Art Center in Mendocino, California. In summer 1980, the first edition of the International Exhibition of Textile Dyes for Mushrooms: FUNGI AND FIBERS was held in Mendocino (California).
Aqueous carbon black dispersions in a wide range of high-strength resinated and non-resinated systems were used for a variety of coatings and graphic arts applications. Thanks to Miriam's pioneering research and experimentation, fiber artists from all over the world use and teach the extraordinary art of dyes and pigments related to fungi. All practices that span the world of textile arts require a book to explain them.