light tested Xanthoria parietina lichen

Here are the samples  after around 10 days of sitting on a windowsill – and some of those days were actually very sunny! ^_^

 fibres without any modifiers

 vinegar modified fibres at the top, at the bottom modified with washing soda

while wool faded rapidly, silks, linen and bamboo/ramie have almost retained the original color

sun exposed fibres while wet on the left – the least color loss of all samples

fibres used to exhaust dyebath on the right

As you can see a lot of color is gone. I haven’t seen a natural dye  fading so rapidly. While it is rather washfast the lightfastness is very poor.  In most of the books, in fact in all I have on nat dyeing authors mention the colours one can get from this lichen as well as the fact that it is a substantive dye, yet no one talks about fastness, except one, which I came across only two days ago. It is a book by Rita J. Adrosko, Natural Dyes and Home Dyeing from 1971. She mentions another dyestuff, Orchil and cites an American dyer who wrote in 1869: “It is seldom used by itself for dyeing, but usually to help or top other colors; when used alone it gives colors which are very loose in air, fading almost visibly in sunglight…” I feel the same applies to  Xanthoria Parietina.  So the mystery is solved. It’s been interesting to try this lichen but there are certainly easier ways – how to ge a good grey color :)!



  1. Thanks for the information on lightfastness. I enjoy watching the colours morph with natural dyes and seeing how wash and lightfast they are. It’s nice when you can learn from someone who knows what they’re doing and helps you understand some of the tricky bits. Thanks for sharing you knowledge.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s