Dyeing Silk with Brazilwood Shavings

8 05 2017

My friend and master violin bow maker Lee Guthrie gave me some shavings from Brazilian Pernambuco wood, which makes a stunning crimson red dye. Known as Brazilwood by dyers and favored by bow makers, it’s also an historically important dye material. The name for the country of Brazil is actually shortened from Terra do Brasil “land of brazilwood”, since it was so important to the economy. Brazilwood dye can also refer to a related Asian species of Caesalpinia or Sappanwood. See the Wikipedia entry for more background information.

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Simmering Brazil wood shavings

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Shades of red from Brazilwood dye

To make the dye, I poured boiling water over a big handful and let it sit overnight. I soon discovered that it’s a very strong dye, so I removed some shavings and simmered the rest for about 1 hour. The silk scarves were pre-mordanted with alum, then brought to a simmer, turned off and cooled overnight. Shavings can be dried and used again for lighter shades. Iron darkened the color to a burgundy. Eco printing with leaves was done after dyeing.

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Silk Scarf dyed with Brazilwood and eco printed with local leaves

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Brazilwood dyed silk scarf with iron


*  View my available scarves in the Eco Print section of my ETSY SHOP. *


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Eco Print Workshop with Irit Dulman

9 11 2016

Fusion of Botanical Print and Natural Dyeing.  

I am SO behind on updating my eco printing blog!  Better late than never… I attended two wonderful eco printing workshops this past summer and fall. The first was with Irit Dulman, a master eco printer who lives in Israel, at the Pacific Northwest Art School on Whidbey Island in Washington in June 2016.  She’s a master eco printer with the artistic eye of a designer, who seems to keep experimenting with new techniques.

I was able to combine my trip to Washington with a mini-college roommate reunion, since one lives only about an hour north of the art school. Here are some images of the workshop. Click on an image to see a larger view.  If you ever have the opportunity to take a workshop with Irit, go for it!  I learned so much.

Irit Dulman workshop

Some of my results:
Natural dyes: Logwood, Indigo, Cochineal and Weld
Leaves: Smokebush, Japanese maple, Sumac, Horse chestnut, etc.



** View available scarves in the Eco Print section of my ETSY SHOP.**






Eco Printing with Butternut Tree Leaves

26 04 2016

Butternut is one of my favorite leaves to eco print on silk. My friend Maria has a huge but ailing Butternut tree in her backyard here in Minneapolis and she’s not sure how much longer it will stand. Butternut trees have become fairly rare in this area, unlike the more common Black Walnut. We thought it would be nice to try printing leaves from her tree onto a silk scarf, so if/when the tree does have to come down, she’ll have a keepsake.

She saved me some leaves in the fall, after they had fallen. I pressed some that were still fairly fresh and dried the others in a grocery bag, as they were too crumpled and dry to press flat.  They printed beautifully, similar to Black Walnut leaves, but in a beautiful golden brown.

I folded the Habotai silk scarves when bundling to create a mirror image, showing both prints from the top and bottom of the leaves. I first soaked the scarves in a dilute solution of rusty iron water for about ½ hour to intensify the prints. I made a few so my friend could pick the one she liked the best. This is the one she picked:

Butternut leaf eco printed silk scarf

Butternut Leaf Eco Printed onto Silk Scarf, 31

Here are the other two scarves I printed using the Butternut leaves from her tree plus a few other leaves. To vary the effects, I used a layer of parchment paper on these two so the pigment from the leaf wouldn’t go through all the layers. I also wrapped the first scarf around a copper pipe instead of a wooden dowel. It would also be interesting to try Butternut leaves or nuts as a natural dye, although a bit tricky to get enough leaves from a huge tree or nuts before the squirrels get them!

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Butternut Leaf Eco Printed onto Silk Scarf, 31



** View available scarves in the Eco Print section of my ETSY SHOP.**


 








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