Saturday, February 27, 2010

Confined to barracks

I have been confined to barracks with Chicken Pox. Despite having it as a child, I have succumbed to it again. The miracle drug they gave me has made it very bearable. I have the red spots but feel pretty good. So what does one do when confined to barracks? Spin. Knit. Dye. Cook. Clean. Watch movies. Read and cruise the 'net. Not a bad life.  

I've been taking pictures of some natural dye material. Here's Japanese Green Tea (interesting grays with a greenish tinge) and Lac (reds) dye stuff. Lac is interesting. It is a excrement from an insect that parasitizes certain trees, mostly in Asia and Mexico. The insect colonies make a resinous cocoon from which the dyestuff is extracted. The resinous material is made into shellac and in the old days, into lacquer ware.  Who would have thought that insect excrement could be so useful?! I remember eating off 400 year old lacquer plates on a remote island off Guadalcanal thinking it most unusual to be there eating off such beautiful elegant dinner ware in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Knowing lac comes from insect excrement makes that dinner experience even more bizarre.

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