Eucalyptus bark dyed silk

Amelia Hoskins / Dyes, Plant Dye / / 0 Comments / Like this
Eucalyptus bark peelings from Hilliers arboretum
I  collected this bark from 2 trees; Eucalyptus viminalis, Manna Gum, and Eucalyptus Archeri, Alpine cider gum (Tasmania) in Hillier Arboretum, Hampshire, UK.
Bark on ground from tree peelings
Bark peeling off side of tree

Preparing Eucalyptus Dye Bath

  • Break up bark and leave to soak for a day or overnight.  I added 3 leaves to ensure a colour result (as dye instruction books use leaves for strong result).
  • I heated to boil, then simmered for 1hr-1hr 30mins once I could see the colour appeared.  (Its always a good idea to leave dye stuff to soak over night and reboil again the next day if colour is not very strong).
  • I pre-mordanted the silk by soaking in water with alum in a bowl overnight; although not necessary with Eucalyptus, due to its strength which I didn't know at the time. (Alum is bought in powder form)  Soya milk can also be used as a pre-mordant.
  • Remove bark from pan and leave liquid to cool to just hand hot, before adding silk. (Silk can go rough if exposed to boiling temperature).
  • It wasn’t necessary to-heat the dye bath again to obtain more colour, as the silk took up the dye well immediately, and quickly grew darker.  After about an hour of soaking, frequently moving around, I removed silk, heated the dye bath again for about 10 mins and again left it to cool before soaking silk again.
  • The Habotai silk I used, absorbs bark dye very well, and quickly. (Ahimsa silk test yet to be done).
  • Trialed lace fabric (content unknown; likely cotton/polyester mix) which appeared to rapidly take up the dye, although it was not pre-mordanted, as the silk was.
  • The cotton lace sample dyed very well in the secondary dye bath where iron water was added.
Bark boiled to give orange liquid
Lace soaking in liquid after silk has been dyed.
Adding rusty nail water to dye bath as iron modifyer
Gold dyed silk and iron modified silk
Comparisons: Top samples were modified with iron ferrous sulphate. Bottom lace sample shows 50% dye take up due to mixed fibre

[Gold silk was used for the painting used with Kimono Dress Tasmanian Blues]

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