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Now this is a book.

July 20, 2008


This book bespeaks passion. Why in the world would one write a book about dyeing with lichens if passionate curiosity did not drive you to do it?

I can just picture the author with a still damp handful of lichens, comparing them to some dusty old manual with completely inadequate illustrations. Is it Ochrolechia tartarea? Or perhaps Ochrolechia parella? Would it impart a royal purple hue? The book remains mute, and the library yields no further clues. “But I want to know!” she wails, then sets out determinedly with pencil, sketchbook, and the completely inadequate dusty old manual to do the research herself. After months of tramping through woodlands and rocky shores, sketchbooks filled with such treasures as “Hypogymnia physodes, underside of lobe showing the lower skin ruptured,” cooking pots permanently colored odd hues of brown and purple, and reams of notes (“Cetraria glauca has been included as it will give a yellow to the wool with boiling water,” and “”Found in Scotland only on trees”), she settles at the typewriter to share what she has found.

I want to be this person.

p.s. Thank you, Lysne, for lending me this book. It is absolutely amazing.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 24, 2008 3:18 pm

    Just the pictures on your post confirm this is truly unique – the bit of white witch in me is intrigued by the idea of finding colors to dye for in nature.

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