Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Dyeing with willow bark.

At a Regia meeting, the guys were making a wattle fence. Very cool but I forgot the camera of course. It takes a ton of material. They were making it out of Bog Willow (or at least what we all grew up calling Bog Willow) at Earendel Farm. There is a huge stand of it which has part they want to cut back in order to create new straight growth for basket weaving. We noticed that the inner bark was bright yellow, so we stripped a bunch of cut branches and the trunk and I took the bark home.

I half filled the largest dye pot I have with bark and topped it up with warm water. I let it sit until the next afternoon when we started up a fire and I cooked it for several hours. The water was a deep gold. I removed the bark and it was colourless! I popped in 5 grams of alum and then put in 45 grams of Shetland wool. I cooked it for several hours more and let it cool in the pot.
Ick.. this is what I got.

Earlier this spring I put up a huge pot of bog willow leaves for a dye vat and we got a very pale yellowy green. Not enough colour for the huge amount of leaves we had, to bother with in my estimation. So Bog Willow isn't going to be one of my more favoured dye plants, I don't think.

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