• ravenruis

Natural Dye Experiment

Updated: Apr 14

After our club's annual dyeing day at Dolomore Park (it's great fun, I highly recommend it!) I had some mordant waters left over so thought I'd do a small experiment using new plants.


I chose mint, and two other plants I have no idea what they are (and which is why they will be oddly labelled). One grows on the property and the other grows on the riverbank nearby.


The mordanted waters I had were some alum, copper, and iron.


I began by extracting potential colour from the plants by doing a boil-simmer-cool-boil-simmer-cool extraction over several days, as I'd read somewhere this could be a gentler process than simply boiling the material.


Then I set up some containers, as I'd decided to solar dye (again, gentler). Each plant dye was split over each of the mordants, plus a set with no mordant to show natural colour. The mordanted water was simply added to each container's dye water and left to do its thing in the sun.



I don't currently have a pic of the unmordanted yarns, by which to compare, but if I do take one I'll upload it here. Also if I manage to take photos of the two mystery plants. Apologies for the messiness, but this was how I left them to air dry.

Reading left to right: mordanted with alum, copper, iron

Top row: mystery plant from river bank

Middle row: mystery plant from property

Bottom row: mint

The original colour of the wool was a creamy white. I'm not sure if any of the subsequent colours show any real potential. What do you think?


addendum: finally took photos of the mystery plants. Identification welcomed. Ingore the yellowing, its simply autumnal change.


Riverbank plant. Appears to be a shrubby tree, usually with red leaf stems.


Property plant. Weedy-type growth, tall & straight. (Ignore background plants) Seems to like damp area, southerly aspect.

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