Tag: dye plant collection

22 May

Hawthorn Berries 3 rivers dye samples

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Hawthorne River Taw estuary
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Hawthorne River Otter banks

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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