I have 6 jars with six different kinds of lichen. They are all macerating in the same solution of one part ammonia to two parts water. I have them sitting out on the kitchen counter so that I remember to shake them as much as possible. Four of the jars are making lots of color, while two of them look like failures.
|Oak moss growing on a branch.|
This first jar is the oak moss solution. It turned a brilliant yellow green within seconds of coming into contact with the ammonia solution. It's now an intriguing yellow orange color.
|Oak moss fermentation.|
This is my most promising jar.
|Yellow lichen turned brick red.|
|Yellow Lichen on an almond tree.|
This is most certainly a lichen that contains the magical orchil acid. I had read that most lichens containing this acid grow on rocks and are very slow to grow. This was a wonderful surprise. After a couple of months fermenting I should be able to get a magenta dye. The best part of this discovery is that this lichen grows on many trees in my area, and I know it grows quickly because in two short years it's covered a young almond tree I planted.
The next two jars are two different shades of brown. They look like they're making some nice rich dyes, but I'm on the hunt for purple right now.
|A rich dark brown broth.|
These last two are probably failures. They were both types of lichen that, when wet. have an algae like texture and color. You can't win them all.
|Algae looking lichen.|
|A little bit of color, but not enough for a dye bath.|