Tag: plant dye

15 Sep

Walnut Husks Dyed Silk

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)

Silk in dye bath dish
Silk hung out to dry
Silk dyed samples: Left Walnut Light, Centre Walnut Dark, with Right Comfrey dyed silk for comparison.
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

Silk after steaming, containing layers of seeds and petals, folded in triangles then bundled.
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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Strong pinks after unwrapping bundle
Pastel results
Hopi sunflower seeds and petals thick silk
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/

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