Last year for my pigment experiments I used aluminum sulfate from a dye company thinking that was the right kind of alum. In 2016 I made Iris green clothlets with the medievally recommended alum, Rock Alum, which I learned is aluminum potassium sulfate or potassium aluminum sulfate, KAl(SO4)2·12H2O.
|Iris Green Clothlets 2016 from De Arte Illuminandi|
Click "read more" below to find out how!
As Always, Safety First!
Adrienne's Experiment steps:
Suit up with nitrile gloves, goggles over glasses and N95 mask!
We're dealing with some toxic chemicals here, please don't breathe in lye or alum. Even non-toxic substances like carbon can cause pneumoconiosis which could, ultimately, cause death. Please be safe!
I'm working from De Arte Illuminandi translated by Thompson and Hamilton again! Remember this is an anonymously written, untitled manuscript, probably from the late 14th century. Here's that source's instruction:
|De Arte Illumimandi (Thompson and Hamilton, pg 6-7)|
First I scoured and cut pieces of linen to make my clothlets. Then, once it was clean and dry, I prepared a 1:10 distilled water to aluminum potassium sulfate solution in a cleaned and sterilized glass ball jar by combining 10.02g Rock alum with 100.00g Distilled Water (DW) and swirling at least three times a day for three days. The rock alum wasn't fully dissolved until the third day.
Then I dipped each of ten clothlets in the solution, squeezed with gloved fingers to remove the excess rock alum water and dried, spread out on parchment paper with an indirect fan circulating air past them.
|Scoured linen dipped in 1:10 Rock Alum solution, drying.|
I dipped the to be iris clothlets in rock alum water once for five clothlets, twice for four and a third time, accidentally, on the last one.
Once the Rock Alum-ed clothlets were dry, I proceeded to saturate them in iris juice, decanted from a bag of previously frozen iris blossoms picked and frozen in the 2015 garden in Saco, Maine. I let them dry completely and dipped in iris juice and dried again and again for a total of five times each. At this point all clothlets have a nice blue color.
As they continued to dry and the iris juice reacted with the rock alum they all turned varying shades of green.
|Clothlet prepared with
1 dip in 1:10 potash alum water.
|Clothlet prepared with|
2 dips in 1:10 potash alum water.
|Clothlet prepared with|
3 dips in 1:10 potash alum water.
|Clothlets after being dipped 5 times in Iris Juice.|
I will snip a little piece off each and paint it out soon. At this point I am happy with the beautiful iris green clothlets! Interestingly, both aluminum sulfate and potassium aluminum sulfate created green clothlets.
Mom just brought me some elderberries and the stronger vinegar is en route... off to other experiments!!!