Working with Sappanwood (or Indian Redwood) and other natural dyes on lengths of fabric are my new project, after having completed 20 cotton tunics, which I worked on for the past seven months. I have decided to spend the next period on dyeing lengths of cotton, linen and quite possibly silk fabrics. The intention is to later have these fabric lengths sewn into practical items (cushion covers, tablecloths etc) or possibly clothing. Some of the fabric is sourced from upcycle shops, and others I have bought from fabric stores.
This dye comes from the heartwood of a tree found in Asia. I bought the dye last year, in powder form, when I was in India. After the first extraction, I have dried the powder for future use.
The colour that is produced ranges from bright orange to blue-red depending on various factors (water, mordants used, fabric, quantity). Because the dye may change colour if exposed to light on a frequent basis (ie: as curtains), it is recommended that the fabric be used for other purposes (clothing, tablecloths etc)
Sappanwood is an authentic red dye from the medieval period.
This piece of fabric, which I am currently working on will be reworked with other dyes and ecoprinting. My first step was to do shibori stitching on the two ends of the fabric, then I dyed it with the Sappanwood dye. Next, I dyed the entire piece with Chilca, a dye plant native to Peru. The colour of the Chilca dye is a vivid gold/green. During this step, the intense colour of the Sappanwood became somewhat washed out. So, I restitched and once again dyed the two ends of the fabric in Sappanwood. Below is the result:
Next, I did some eco printing in the middle, yellow section using mostly Maple and Cotinus leaves. The results of this process are currently in the works.
Winter has set in here at home, with temperatures in the -8C to -20C range and local snow squalls. Perfect weather to light up the wood stoves and layer on clothing, but most of all, time to work in my studio!
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