Solar Dyeing with bark
In my web blog travels I have been looking for information about dyes from plant materials. One great natural dye blog is here at Riihivilla who has experimented with Solar dyeing using various mixed materials. (I typed this up a few days ago and didn’t post it and just found that Neki has also put up a link to the same site ) On Weavolution I joined a group studying Natural Dye Color – Extracts, Dyestuff and Pigments. One of the members there has been collecting bark and wood from recently felled trees and talkng about her process. There are also Yahoo groups on using natural dyes. All of this has inspired me to start collecting bark and leaves from local trees.
I collect about 500 grams of the inner bark of a downed paper birch and have that soaking in a covered bucket. (don’t want to breed mosquitos)
I liked the idea of solar dyeing so put a layer of bark in the bottom of a jar, stuffed in a skein of wool and jammed as much bark as I could on top, then filled it with water. The jar is now sitting in the greenhouse . I will give it a shake as many times as I remember to. Not sure if this is correct , but it is looking o.k. so far.
Day 1 on the left, Day 6 on the right. There is a hint of colour in the wool (aside from the bits of bark)
There are bark recipes in the Jenny Dean book. ( I have now renewed the book the maximum three times in a row at my local libaray and Sharon reminded me it is being reprinted this fall… ) Those recipes all soak the bark in water, but on Sandra Rude’s pages is a recipe for sawdust soaked in alcohol to extract the colour. I had shelled some hazelnuts recently and saved the shells to soak. There is a touch amber in the liquid after about a week of soaking, but I know it will take a lot longer to get some real colour.
(click photos to biggify)