Dialogue 1 – Compost Cloth

As part of my studies I am working with different ways the natural environment can leave its mark on textiles. I am calling each of these attempts – dialogues.
The first dialogue is a quickie – with the compost. I put a length of unbleached cotton in the compost, undisturbed for a month. This was the result.
Here is the textile out in the understory of a maple.
Looks pretty decayed and stained…
…but when I washed it most of the dark staining came out. There is some left so the cloth has changed colour.
The soft decayed edges are the best parts.
I have a desire to preserve this textile so I am researching darning and patching methods and will next do some sampling.
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0 thoughts on “Dialogue 1 – Compost Cloth

  1. Dorothy Clews

    Hello Lesley, Linda Wallace (my co collaborator in composting tapestries) directed me to your blog. I love the staining on the cloth before it was washed. Was the cloth in a an active compost heap? I guess at this time of the year it would have a cool temperature. I have not done this with my 'planted'tapestries but I wonder if painting the cloth with soy milk and curing before composting would help to preserve the marks. This is done when using natural dyes and cellulose fibres.

  2. Lesley Turner

    Hello Dorothy, Thanks for your helpful comments. i will try the soy milk. yes it was an active compost but as you said, a cool time of the year. I have had better staining results with textiles under fallen leaves. I'm in the middle of sampling finishes to keep all the bits of leaves & seeds stuck to the cloth before I stitch. i'll keep you posted.


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