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Three natural dyes using locally sourced raw materials

Three natural dyes, using locally sourced raw materials, that’s what I will be using to dye the next few cotton tunics. Over the past three days, I have prepared sumac berry, acorn and walnut dyes. I have also made a pot of sumac leaves, which will be a mordant. Acorn and sumac leaves have tannin in them. Walnut is a natural dye. Therefore, I do not have to mordant the cotton, before dyeing.

I am mixing these three dyes, with various mordants and possibly other compounds.

These plants are readily available where I live (in central Ontario) and autumn is the time to harvest them

The process in producing these dyes is quite lengthy. First they need to be collected, then chopped (sumac berries), soaked (berries, nuts), pounded (nuts), heated and finally strained. Then they are ready to use.

I will use a variety of mordants/compounds in order to change the colours of these dyes. One such mordant, that I have yet to prepare is with Juniper needles.

While I’m also wanting to collect and make dyes from Goldenrod and Reeds, I will restrain myself, for the time being!

Using Arashi and other Shibori resist techiques, I will use these dyes on my remaining cotton tunics.

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