Preparing For Mordanting/Dyeing

Mordants should never be handled with impunity; these should be used outdoors.  Alums contain aluminum.  And while aluminum is ubiquitous in our environment, exposure to it should be minimal.  It is quite controversial that potassium aluminum sulfate (potassium alum) is often found in baking powder (not baking soda).  Exposure to boiled aluminum mordants should not be carried on indoors.  Additionally, aluminum sulfate alum produces sulphuric acid when mixed with water; you don’t want to be breathing this indoors.

To the end of mordanting fibre I bought an outdoor cooker yesterday – $85.  It is just the burner, and is rated at 66,000 BTU.  The flame is regulated by physically adjusting the air flow; this is done by physically turning a piece of aluminum (!) that covers a hole in the cast burner next to the input hose.  It worked well on its initial burning; I can’t wait to try my first batch of fibre in it using both potassium alum and alum sulfate…

Seeing that the constituency of pots make an impact on the result of the dyes I decided to pull a couple of large aluminum pots out of storage, see how they do, and then to dedicate them to this in some fashion (we certainly didn’t want to use them in contact with any foodstuffs before this, or hereafter now either).