Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Wood Dye

In a comment on the previous post, Dolores said " Can't wait to see how the dye turns out!"

I hope you have a lot of patience! Because that's what's required for the wood dyes. If you read the procedure in the PDF linked here on my website (5th item down on that page), you'll notice that I say "weeks is good, months is better" when talking about how long the dye material should soak in alcohol.

The wait is worth it, though, because the colors from wood are just glorious:

The browns are easy to understand when contemplating dye from wood material. But all these colors are possible. The burgundy red, of course, is brasilwood. The screaming gold is black locust - a real surprise, because the wood itself looks like maple, blond with a faint yellow streak. The peaches are from bloodwood. The bronzy colors come from koa or black acacia (they're related, and the colors are similar). The pale gold is eucalyptus leaves (okay, not actually wood, but still, it came from a tree). The greys are mostly iron on top of the tannin from the wood source material; usually, the wood color was either insignificant or fugitive, so I added iron to darken and grey the yarn.

This is only a small sampling of the colors I've gotten from wood dye. But it's "slow cloth" for sure! You can't hurry the extraction process, and you can't hurry the dye process by heating, or you dull or lose the color altogether. I've got jars in the studio that have been soaking since a year or two before we moved here (which was almost 3 years ago, now).

A couple of the russet brown skeins in the middle of pile are dyed with cocobolo, but the darker variety. Apparently, the highland cocobolo is dark, and the timber growing nearer sea level is more orange. We have a friend who exhibits at quite a few of the shows we do, who works almost exclusively with the darker cocobolo, so I've got a good source for that; the recently acquired stuff is from coastal timber and I've never tried it before.

Eventually, you'll see pictures posted here from the wood chips that were recently set to soaking in alcohol, but it'll be a wait. Stay tuned!


Alice said...

What a gorgeous palette.

DebbieB said...

Fascinating that so many shades can be extracted from sawdust. Lovely!

Connie Rose said...

Gorgeous colors!

neki desu said...

they are all gorgeous, but the grays are so elegant they make my heart beat faster.

lizet frijters said...

Beautiful colours! I am going to try that now.