Saturday, October 3, 2009

Buckets of Color

I was thinking how much I take color for granted.

This worn pioneer bucket is a wonderful, natural orange/red wooden color. But the early settlers really had to experiment when it came to coloring their yarns for example.

No running to the fabric store to get dye for them. No, they used dandelions to color their wools a strong yellow. And blueberries weren't just for eating. Beets made a fabulous red pair of mittens - the envy of all the other children in the schoolhouse. Tamarack needles picked in autumn gave homemakers an earthy brown tone for their labor.
There were a number of plants whose roots, leaves, and flowers were useful for dyeing, though some produced neutral grayish, and other less attractive colors.

Talk about infinite patience. First the washing and drying of the wool to remove the natural oils. Then a mordant was applied to make the wool more fade-proof. More washing and rinsing and drying before going into the dye pot.Then keeping the fire going in the hearth to sufficiently boil the plants. Then the endless rinsing and drying...

I like to think of myself as having the soul of an artist, but I don't even come close to how creative pioneer women had to be to satisfy their creative urges, if not just out of love and necessity in caring for their families!


  1. Your words made me stop and think of how fortunate we really are to be living in a world so full of one time only the wealthy could afford the luxury of many colors in their homes and clothing...A beautiful image too...I love the colors of old paint...

  2. What a beautiful image, and a very thought=provoking post, too. :)

  3. We really do have it easy. Color inspiration is all around us. Changing the color of our environment is as easy as a trip to the paint store. We have racks of colorful garments to choice from. We are lucky. And those pioneer women were amazing.

  4. Very intersting information....I've learned a lot by joining in on LUT. Great protrait of orange!

  5. beautiful words and a good lesson to us all. love the shot

  6. Terrific photo. No, I doubt I would have had an orange bucket if I were a pioneer. Great take on the theme.

  7. this is lovely... and your words have me feeling very fortunate.
    : )

  8. Oh, you're so right! If my family had to rely on me to do all that for clothing ... well, we'd just have to go naked. So there.
    Great shot!

  9. That bucket looks as if it has a lot of stories to tell! Beautiful!

  10. I agree, we have it very easy...
    Lovely shot of the bucket!


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