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California colors natural dyes - 2014

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Introductory talk on natural dyes

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California colors natural dyes - 2014

  1. 1. © Project SOUND California Colors: Experiences with Native Plant Dyeing Barbara Sattler and Connie Vadheim South Coast Chapter – CNPS October 6, 2014
  2. 2. California natives: so much to attract us © Project SOUND
  3. 3. Hopi dyes: cotton & basketry fibers © Project SOUND http://www.adobegallery.com/art/hopi-third-mesa-wicker-groom-s-plaque
  4. 4. Navajo dyes: wool © Project SOUND http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/14211892_navajo-traditional-natural-dye-rug http://www.navajoministries.org/news/NavajoDyeChart.htm http://navajorug.com/blasts-from-my-past/
  5. 5. California Natural Dyes – the ‘lost’ traditions are being ‘rediscovered’  Historical documents (a few)  Some traditions handed down – now being shared  Looking to other groups – California & Baja CA  Trying to duplicate artifacts  Creating sources of dye stuffs © Project SOUND http://deborahsmall.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/gat hering-deergrass/ http://blog.sfgate.com/inmarin/2009/10/01/last-opportunity-to-take-native- american-skills-class/
  6. 6. Another source of inspiration…. © Project SOUND
  7. 7. © Project SOUND How do you get those colors?
  8. 8. The dyeing process: 4 main steps 1. Prepare the material to be colored 2. Prepare the dye-bath 3. Dye the material 4. Complete the after-dye processing © Project SOUND
  9. 9. Preparing the fiber/yarn: steps that help the fiber take up the dye  Cleaning/ removing substances that prevent dyeing (grease; waxes; etc.)  Washing  Stripping : heat, specific chemicals/substances, light exposure, other  Other physical preparations  Making the material more receptive to the dye, if needed  Wetting the material just prior to dyeing © Project SOUND http://joyofhandspinning.com/how-to- prepare-fiber-with-a-drum-carder/ http://stoneflake.net/explore/primitive-living/how-to/preparing- yucca-fiber-from-dried-leaves/
  10. 10. What are mordants?  Substances that improve uptake and/or retention of dye particles  From the French mordre, ‘to bite’. In the past, it was thought that a mordant helped the dye bite onto the fiber so that it would hold fast during washing.  Been used thousands of years  Two types:  Chemical mordants; metallic salts [alum; tin; iron, copper; chromium]  Plant mordants [tannins]  Not all dye/fiber combinations require a mordant © Project SOUND http://www.chemical-engineering.co/2012/03/22/mordant/ Lemonadeberry leaves
  11. 11. Preparing the dye bath  Collect the dye stuff  Correct plant part  Time of year – often important  Prepare the dye stuff  Chopping  Drying  Treating  Extract the dye © Project SOUND http://sewserena.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/dyeing-yarn-and-fabric-with-rabbit-brush/
  12. 12. Let’s look at some of my favorite dye sources © Project SOUND Rabbitbush – Ericameria nauseosa
  13. 13. Rabbitbush: a natural dyer’s delight © Project SOUND  Abundant  Easy to collect, use; can be stored  Good, durable dye  Lovely carotinoid pigment colors (yellows/gold/greens)  Nicely scented; non-toxic
  14. 14. Yellow-flowered Asteraceae: good starting dyes  Common in gardens  Need annual pruning  Can use both flowers, foliage  Easy to collect, use; can be stored  Good, durable dye  Lovely carotinoid pigment colors (yellows/gold/greens)  Nicely scented ; non-toxic © Project SOUND California goldenrod the Goldenbushes Ericameria species
  15. 15. Parts of plants used for dyes  Flowers/flower buds  Seedpods  Seeds  Leaves  Stems  Roots  Bark  Root bark © Project SOUND
  16. 16. Leaves can produce extraordinary colors Island ironwood - Lyonothamnus floribundus  bark a traditional source of black dye  ?? Can a dye be obtained from the fallen leaves  Challenge: leaves are tough & leathery © Project SOUND
  17. 17. Why must dyes be ‘extracted’?  Location in plants  Roots  Bark  Wood  Other interior tissues  Location in the cells  Vacuole – water-soluble pigments  Chromoplasts  Cell wall  Other  Have to do something to destroy well walls to release the pigment © Project SOUND
  18. 18. Ways to create bright dyes (wool yarn) 1. Use a 10:1 ratio of dyestuff to wool (by weight) 2. Crush/cut dry thick, leathery leaves 3. Begin extraction with heat (20-30 minutes) 4. Let dye bath rest at least 2-3 days 5. Use multiple extractions to get multiple pigments 6. To dye, use 20-30 min heat + 2-4 days soak (or solar dyeing for longer) © Project SOUND
  19. 19. Lyonothamnus leaves produce lovely rusts and oranges © Project SOUND
  20. 20. Taking advantage: trimmings, etc. © Project SOUND Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)  Colorful inner bark  1-2” branches have thin outer bark  Needs time (year?) to separate bark easily
  21. 21. Stem and root bark pigments Complex mix of ‘protective’ pigments:  Flavonoids – yellows  Anthocyanins – red/red-brown  Tannin – tan/brown (natural mordant)  Others © Project SOUND  Pines  Junipers  Willows/Poplars (Salix/Populus)  Cherries (Prunus)  Apples & pears
  22. 22. Releasing pigments from tough sources  Dry the bark  Cut, pound or pulverize it  Let it soak in water for a few days to several weeks  Boil it for several hours  Let the dye bath sit for days to weeks – stirred or not  Strain out the plant material and use  Apply heat  Hot/boiling water  Steam  Microwave  Apply force  Pound/grind  Let microorganisms do the work – fermentation  Or a combination of the above © Project SOUND Tradition recipe for preparing dye from a tree bark
  23. 23. Dye extraction requires patience © Project SOUND
  24. 24. Extra time = better, more even color © Project SOUND
  25. 25. Time to wash, rinse & dry © Project SOUND
  26. 26. “I don’t knit; what can I do with dyed yarn?” © Project SOUND
  27. 27. To learn more, come to our artist’s receptions © Project SOUND
  28. 28. Don’t you wish you had more/brighter colors? © Project SOUND
  29. 29. The natural dye colors are truly ‘California Colors’ © Project SOUND
  30. 30. Why tradition/natural dye traditions are important  They provide sources of eco-friendly dyes for:  Fabrics, leather, wood, etc.  Foods  Medicines and cosmetics  They provide important models for medicine & engineering  They help us understand plants better; focus our attention on both botany and uses of plants  They are part of our human heritage  They inspire modern artists & craftspeople © Project SOUND http://www.sbnature.org/research/anthro/chumash/daily.htm#Baskets Chumash baskets http://www.navajoministries.org/news/NavajoDyeChart.htm

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