Thursday, September 19, 2013


Tucked into the base of Pikes Peak, Manitou Springs, Colorado (the  city where I live) has been a tourist town since the late 1870's  when visitors discovered the sacred waters that native Americans had been drinking for years. The founder of Manitou, Dr. William Bell, envisioned a  spa town with fresh mountain air and healing waters. Many of these effervescent springs still function today, and there are those who still swear by their healing powers. Me, I think the water tastes gross. As a 22 year resident of the city, I have yet to acquire a taste for it.
This summer I finally have gotten around to using it with my natural dyeing experiments. For my first experiment I used red onion skins and water from six of the functioning springs and the solar dyeing technique. I used equal amounts of skins and water and left the jars for an equal amount of time out in the sun. Then I removed the skins and added a small swatch of white silk fabric to the dye and let it sit for 24 hours. See the photograph for my results.
Water from the 7 Minute spring yielded results close to tap water. (Tap is top upper right hand corner, 7 Minute spring is below it. All the other waters yielded a khaki color with slight variations probably not visible in this photo. Two of the swatches have a slight greenish tinge. Water from these two springs contain copper and calcium which I think is the reason for the green. The spring with the most amount of iron (3rd one down on the right) yielded the most neutral khaki. Next one down has a rosy tint to it.

All of the springs are alkaline and  contain varying amounts of calcium, chloride, copper, fluoride, iron, lithium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, silica, sodium, sulfate and zinc. I know that calcium, copper and iron will affect my dye results but I'm not sure about any of the other minerals. Any information, thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.