Category: Dye Plant Collection

15 Sep

Walnut Husks Dyed Silk

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Walnut husks soaking before boiling for dye bath process

Walnut Dye Bath Process

  • Soak walnut husks with walnuts in, including broken husk pieces, in water for two days.
  • Boil and simmer for 30 mins and leave soaking for another two days.
  • Boil again to reheat and leave to cool to reach hand hot only for silk soaking.
  • Remove husks and decant liquid to bowl.
  • Add wet silk pieces
  • Agitate frequently then soak overnight.
  • Colour is already achieved if not soaked longer.

Silk takes up the brown dye bath quickly but keep turning and agitating occasionally while soaking.  (Don't boil Ahimsa silk as it would roughen surface) Soaking is adequate for obtaining a reasonable colour.

Dye bath is quite dark after walnut husks soaked in water, so could be used without boiling.  Longer soaking might even produce an even darker dye bath. There is a lot of pigment left in the dye bath and dye can be stored in jars. Fill to brim to avoid mould forming. it could also be used to add to other cream or gold dye pots to strengthen or darker tone. (not experimented yet)

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Silk in dye bath dish
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Silk hung out to dry
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Silk dyed samples: Left Walnut Light, Centre Walnut Dark, with Right Comfrey dyed silk for comparison.
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Walnut dyed silk + gold dyes: Left to Right: Logwood bark - Walnut dark - Walnut light - Comfrey leaves - Hawthorne berries - St. Johns Wort flowers

[Note: Post restructuring in process: Images to be resized]

22 May

Bundle Dyeing Seeds and Flowers Workshop

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Silk after steaming, containing layers of seeds and petals, folded in triangles then bundled.
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Petals and seeds on silk

A simple procedure one can do at home; of spreading dye giving seeds and petals on silk (sprayed with vinegar).  Fold pieces, then tie into bundle with string. Most petals will produce colour.

 

Keep seeds and petals in jars, ready for distributing.  Some seeds like Hopi Sunflower have strong dye power, like deep purple.

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WPPB Image Addons
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Strong pinks after unwrapping bundle
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Pastel results
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Hopi sunflower seeds and petals thick silk
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Thin Silk drying after steaming

[Pages restructuring in progress 2020: additional images to be RESIZED] 

Plant dye workshop was run by Flora Arbuthnott at Forde Abbey Garden Festival 2017.  Details of flora's work and workshops below:-

Natural dyeing, bundle dyeing, organic indigo dyeing, japanese shibori resist techniques, natural mordants, colour foraging Walks. http://wilddyegarden.co.uk/

Magazine feature http://www.floraarbuthnott.com/country-homes-interiors

Flora's 'Wild Dye Garden' on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wilddyegarden/

22 May

Tansy dyed silk

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Ahimsa silk dyed 'Naples' or lime yellow with Tansy flowers; similar to my exotic fuscias.
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Tall clumps with rosette grouped flower heads - from my dye plant foraging trip.
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Tansy growing alongside the Tarka Trail in North Devon.
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Flowers collected ready for dye bath soak
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Removing flowers after making dye bath

Dye Bath Procedure

  • Cut up Tansy flower tops and soak overnight in water (pond or river water if available).
  • Boil up in stainless steel pa; simmer for an hour or more until water is well coloured; then leave to cool to hand hot only. (Cotton can be simmered, but silk may get matted and rough if boiled).
  • Agitate silk in dye bath occasionally, redistributing evenly in liquid during first 15 -30 mins to ensure all areas are covered when first absorbing dye.  After first absorption, remove to a china or glass bowl, to agitate easily.  Use an upside down lid to keep silk beneath surface.
  • Soak silk for some hours in cooled dye bath liquid.  The colour of the dye bath water is no indication of the final outcome on dry silk. Remove soon if you want a pale colour; leave overnight for stronger colour.
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Transfer boiled liquid from steel pan to bowl for easy silk soaking and ocassional moving for even dye distribution.
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Silk absorbing the tansy dye liquid
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Tansy dyed Ahimsa silk drying

[Note: Post restructuring: additional dye process images being resized]

22 May

Hawthorn Berries 3 rivers dye samples

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Hawthorne River Taw estuary
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Hawthorne River Otter banks

Click on any photo to view enlarged Photos Gallery

Tarka Trail - Hawthorne Dye Bath Preparation 1

Using berries from Tarka Trail foraging trip along River Taw - found by ditch and field - growing through hazelnut, with briars and nettles.

  • Soak berries for 2-3 days.
  • Boil and simmer for 2 hours, adding water.
  • Mash berries, remove pulp.
  • Soak silk in dye bath pot overnight or for two days.
  • The longer soaked, the darker and stronger the colour.
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Berries soaking
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Berries soaked and boiled
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Berries boiled
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Silk soaking in berry dye bath
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BACKGROUND first clear strong dye bath. LEFT:1st of second soak RIGHT: 2nd piece over previously pale woad dyed silk

River Otter - Hawthorne Dye Bath Prep 2.

Using berries from River Otter banks

Hawthorne berries soaked 2 days, boiled, mashed and drained to leave brown liquid. Two silk samples added to dye liquid when cooled to hand hot (to avoid roughening of silks) - soaked in a wide copper pot for a day and overnight. Wash out in gentle hand wash liquid. One sample was cream, and one was a weak dull pale grey woad dyed piece, included to change to a stronger colour. This gave a browny-khaki result.

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First and second piece soaking
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First and second piece soaking
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LEFT and RIGHT two samples from Otter Hawthorn berries - compare with original gold CENTRE sample

Variations in dyebath results, where both sessions used pond rain water.

Secondary session: Two silk samples were stained with blue marks from being placed together in copper dye bath where residue from one being woad dyed may have affected the other. Or the copper pot may have affected them; or combination of folds/woad residue/copper.

I may have left the berries soaking longer, or the different river bases produce a different colour. 

River Exe - Hawthorn Berry Dye Bath

Session 3 - ONE

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Hawthorn berries growing by road above River Exe collected late Sept.
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Hawthorn berries cut from twigs
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Hawthorn berries close up
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Hawthorn berries after soaking, simmering. (Left: Tansy flowers)
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Hawthorn berries boiled
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Berries seived from dye liquid
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First dip changed from mauve to green. 2nd dip changed from mid mauve to paler beige-mauve. 3rd dip changed from pale mauve to silver
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Silk soaking in dye bath
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Silk absorbing berry dye
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1st silk soaking (result green)
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2nd silk soaking (beige)

Update: 3rd session using River Exe berries gave different light mauve result but was fugitive after washing out in tap water.  pH needs correction to lower number by modifying towards acid. (not done) (see top image).

Session 3 - TWO

Used remaining dye bath from Session 2 with additional apple peels added to pot and reboiled. Subsequent dye baths from a set of berries, becomes more golden, as the red element is absorbed by the silk in the first dye bath. The dye bath used twice before, still produced a light peach.  The two silk top pieces were placed in dye bath a few minutes before the larger piece and absorbed more of the dye at that point.  NOTE: some dyes will be absorbed and fixed immediately. Subsequently the longer piece is a lighter tone.

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Used dye bath - added apple peel
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Boiled dye bath
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Silk soaking in hawthorne apple dye mixture in copper pan
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First Silks being rinsed out after soaking
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Second silk soak paler result
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Two silk differences wet
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Exe Dye result Sess Two. Darker result over lighter result
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Exe Dye result Sess Two. Shade differences (1st and 2nd)
LEFT: Three from Exe dye bath 1. RIGHT: Two from Exe dye bath 2.

Results: River Exe Hawthorn Berry Dye Baths

SESSION ONE:  The green has remained, the mauve has turned more beige, the silver has remained. (indoor cool photography)

SESSION TWO:  The two beiges lost their original dyed peachy-lilac appearance (see above), but are still good as dulled pale beige with hint of peach, as a background to colourful silk painting over.

I have a combination collection of print fabrics which the lastly hawthorn-apple dyed silk will become a component with - in a new garment; (which will be linked here in due course.)

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Centre silk is hawthorn berry dyed and matches perfectly with colours in the dress print (left). Taken out of sunshine, silk looks beige, but is warmer tone. Prints are brighter, and the matching will work perfectly for a silk painting base.

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Hawthorn berry dyed silk (centre) with planned new garment prints
22 May

Ladies bedstraw Dyed Silk

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Ladies Bedstraw growing wild above Bideford marshes River Toridge
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The roots showing tan red
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Roots dug out and flower tops

Lady's Bedstraw is found in waste ground or unused areas and near the coast.  This particularly large and well established plant rambled on the River Torridge embankment above the Bideford marshes along the Tarka Trail cycle path (N. Devon).   The reddish roots are used for dyeing: family is Madder (Rubiaceae) a well known red dye. Not easy to pull out the roots, and most were left for next year's growth.  It was immediately apparent why it is called 'bedstraw' as plant sprigs were 'springy' in the hand, making it ideal for mattresses.  Bedstraw has many herbal uses too.

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Soak roots in water for many days
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Dye bath boiled up
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Roots taken from plant ground need soaking for several days to soften, before boiling up. (I soaked mine at least a week).

Roots of plant produces a red dye, the longer soaked the deeper red. The red dye appears while soaking, and would probably dye without even boiling up.  Photos show the dye was absorbed onto the pan sides, which I believe lost dye pigment strength available; so pans must preferably be steel. Copper pot might also assist with tan tone.

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Silk is soaked in dissolved alum

Some dyes will work without soaking cloth in a premordant.  I usually do two tests. The second piece was not mordanted, and is some shades lighter on drying, but probably only because the first piece absorbed most of the pigment.

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Red dye bath with second silk soaking. First silk out.
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Two silks dyed. One will be weaker when dry
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First silk dyed removed
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Silk dyed being rinsed
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Steam press silk before bone dry to reduce creases. (don't squeeze out too tightly). The patchy areas do not show in the final dried sample.

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Contrasted with Comfrey dyed
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Bright peach tones achieved
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With Comfrey samples
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Bedstraw reddest of gold samples
Shamanic Nights background image