Dyeing silk and lace with Eucalyptus bark

Eucalyptus top of tree - IMG_20180808_165031 - 004 cropped annotated

I collected this bark from 2 trees; Eucalyptus Viminalis, Manna Gum, and Eucalyptus Archeri, Alpine cider gum (Tasmania) in Hillier Arboretum, Hampshire, UK.

Eucalyptus treebark peeling - IMG_20180808_164951 - 004 cropped edited annotated

The bark falls off the trees ready for easy collection.

Eucalyptus shedded bark ground- IMG_20180808_165249 - 004 - edited annotated

Eucalyptus bark, 3 leaves, dye pot starter - box bark - IMG_2018-09-10 17.56.05 - 003 - edited annotated

Dye pot eucalyptus bark and 3 leaves soaking - IMG_2018-09-10 17.56.12 - 003 - edited annotated
Eucalyptus bark soaking in dye pan.

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 to 1hr 30mins.  Remove bark and put silk in pot.  (I pre-mordanted the silk by soaking in water with alum in a bowl overnight; although not necessary with Eucalyptus).  It wasn’t necessary to reboil and simmer the silk in the pan as it took up the dye well immediately, and quickly grew darker.  After about an hour of soaking, frequently moving around, I heated it for about 10 mins and again left it to cool soaking.

Dye pot silk dyed eucalyptus bark - IMG_2018-09-11 09.51.05 - 002 - edited annotated
Silk rapidly absorbs bark dye

Silk absorbs bark dye very well, and quickly. I left it in cold dye bath for 1 hr  then simmered the pot for 10 mins.

Mixed fibre lace first imersion in dye bath - IMG_2018-09-11 14.35.17 - 002 - edited annotated
Lace fabric on fist placing in dye bath (content unknown; likely cotton/polyester mix.)  It rapidly takes up the dye, although it was not pre-mordanted.

Lace fabric on fist placing in dye bath (content unknown; likely cotton/polyester mix.)

It rapidly takes up the dye, although it was not pre-mordanted, like the silk was.

Dye pot Eucalyptus bark, lace dyed - IMG_2018-09-11 14.34.39 - 003 - edited annotated
Lace fabric having taken up the dye after an hour or so simmering
Silk dyed eucalyptus bark, rinsed - IMG_ 2018-09-11 11.12.35 - 002 edited annotated
Washing out dyed silk, to remove excess dye.

Final colour is a rich gold: silk looks very bright in sunlight; a deeper old gold tone indoors.

Eucalyptus bark with gold silk after dyeing - IMG_2018-09-11 14.05.46. - 003 edited annotated
Silk dyed with bark, rinsed and dried.

Eucalyptus bark pot, mixed fibvre lace and silk, iron modified - IMG_2018-09-11 16.15.55 - 002 edited annotated

Adding rusty water (iron) deepens the colour of silk and lace in two more samples.

Silk dyed Eucalyptus, with geranium, right side modified iron 002 - edited - annotated - IMG_2018-09-11 17.20.53
Second silk sample modified after dying with rust water.
Lace dyed with Eucalyptus bark IMG_2018-09-12 11.27.23
Mixed fibre lace fabric dyed with eucalyptus dye pot, after the silk.  Top grey-brown was modified after dyeing, with iron using rusty water from rusty nails. 

To follow up… a new garment using both silk samples with silk painting is in the making.  Colour combinations of blues with deep gold highlights, picking out colours in the prints.

Charity fabrics, blues + Eucalyptus dyed gold - 002 - IMG_2018-09-11 17.41.16
Charity shop clothes – chosen colour combination with ‘Eucalyptus bark’ dyed gold silk
The design will be for a jacket, with the added lace pieces; also dyed with the eucalyptus bark
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Avocado – Natural Dyed Silk

Habotai silk dyed in Avocado pits, Hydrangeas 2018-06-22 - 002 edited annotated

Habotai silk dyed by emersion in an avocado pit dye bath.

Final colour after simmering and soaking for 2-3 hours.  A subtle light, dusky champagne-peach.  A colour which can coordinate with all other colours in my patchwork garments.  A good base for silk painting in stronger colours.

Avocado pits 2018-06-22 - 001 - edited annotated

Avocado pits collected over the years.  I used about 50 (half my storage).  They will hopefully provide another dye bath.  No mordant was used, to enable me to see the natural colour obtainable.  More tests with mordants will follow.

Avocado pits and dyed silk 2018-06-22 - 002 - edited annotated

Avocado pits after using and dyed silk.

Habotai silk rinsed after avocado dye bath 2018-06-21 - 002 edited annotated

Rinsing out silk after the dye bath.  Hardly any colour washed out.  The take-up was good: this is because there is a natural mordant in the avocado pits.

Final colour accurate, habotai silk, avocado dyed, basket, window 2018-06-22

The silk – accurate colour, which looks different in different lights.  In the shade it is more dusky pink, in sunlight – more creamy gold.  Dye absorption was very even.

Avocado dyed habotai silk, pink-white geraniums 2018-06-22 - 002 edited annotated

This avocado dyed silk will blend well with creams, pinks, peaches, jade greens and greys.     Colour co-ordinations of new garments made with this silk and other patchwork fabrics will appear here when completed….

 

Natural Dye Workshop: Petal Colour and Seeds on Silk

Flower and seed dyed cloth, 1000scaled

Silk after being steamed after which the dye comes out of the petals and seeds, and other plant material.

Dye workshop, petals, seeds on cloth
Petals and seeds over silk sprayed with vinegar

Thin silk above, and thicker silk below; these petals and seeds will produce purple, lilac, red and pink dyed areas.

Red petals on silk
Petals and seeds

Spreading petals and seeds on to silk.  Their dye spreads out on the immediate area after steaming.

String wrapped silk parcels, for steaming -20170917_190537
Silk parcels ready for steaming

Fold silk over in triangular folds, then roll tightly.  Wrap tightly with string to hold together in the steam pan.

Silk hanging,two, yellow, purple patches _ 20170917_153625
Students’ samples hung to dry after steaming.

Video display of samples.

Silk samples hung, previous done, pink, gold - 20170917_153618
Pink and gold
Silk hanging, pastel colours-20170917_153603
Beige, gold, pink.
Silk hung, violet gold, other pieces
Dark dye spots can be Black Hopi Sunflower seeds.

Silk bundles for steaming, pink petals around_20170918_145300

My bundles kept overnight, steamed next day; allowing time for dye impregnation.

Red dyed silk (mine) unfolded_20170918_150119 copy - 001 - edited
My thin silk sample after steaming bundle.

My sample, after steaming; strong madder and hollyhock dye colour on thin silk.

Lilac, gold dyes, thick silk_20170918_150340
My thicker silk sample; lilac, purple, ocre.

Thicker silk gives less strong colour results; lilac, purple, ocre, using the simple method.  The seed remains are visible before washing.  Silk sampling is with ad-hoc arrangement of colours.  If fabric had a resist paste or melted wax in some places, the dye would not penetrate and that would make a design left in white.

Lilac, gold, unfolded thick silk parcel_20170918_150419
Some of the darker dyes are from Hopi Sunflower seeds.
Tipee technology, silk dye workshop
Teepee at Forde Abbey Garden Festival for Plant dye workshop
Forde Abbey, circle windows, wisteria, seed sculptures on plinths copy, 002 - edited - scaled
Ford Abbey

Plant dye workshop I attended to make my samples 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/