Companions on the “Silk Roads”: Madder, Logwood and Osage Orange

Several recent eco-printed textiles (8 mm silk habotai) were inspired by the colours of this midwinter landscape, similar to “Silk Roads 6”, below:

Silk Roads 5

Red cabbage, Ceylon tea and safflower:

Some pretty greens happen with the safflower yellows and cabbage blues mingling, while  the amber browns come  from tea, not rust.

Silk Roads 7 
Some more midwinter colours, as for Silk Roads 5, but with rust (and vinegar to activate the rust strongly). The colour differences due to the rust and vinegar are quite striking.

In the landscape of my winter garden, the large dried mopheads of “Annabelle” hydrangeas and the leafless vines of the arctic kiwi (arctinidia) provide the rusted orangey-browns we see in the iron rust prints above.

Now for some of the colours of warmer seasons, with madder reds, logwood purples and Osage orange golds combining with Red cabbage blues, safflower yellows, iron rusts,  tea blacks and red-browns:

Silk Roads 8

To the familiar combo of Red cabbage, black and brown tea, safflower and rust, I added a quarter teaspoon of Madder Rich dye extract powder to 2 0z water and dribbled that mixture over the textile once the other dyestuffs had been laid down. The Osage orange, basically a rough sawdust, was sprinkled thickly in places, like cheese on pizza. Bundled in rusted iron and steamed for an hour or so.

Silk Roads 9

  Logwood purple-blue added to the mix, along with some unintended cuddling up from  madder bundle in the dye pot. The logwood was sprinkled dry (while the madder had been was dissolved in water first) onto the textile after the other dyestuffs were laid down. Bundled over a length of rebar and steamed for an hour or so.   

A few “Silk Roads”

Eco-printed with madder (reds and pinks), logwood (deep blues and purples) and Osage orange for deep orangey-yellows.  Blacks and rust from iron; brown from teas; lavender blues from Red cabbage; greens from blue-yellow mixes.

Next post: A few favourite details from January’s work


4 thoughts on “Companions on the “Silk Roads”: Madder, Logwood and Osage Orange

  1. Such incredibly clear colours, Wendy! Steaming never worked for me with our hard water, but i’ll still be experimenting with the dye extracts the way i do it. Are you rusting first, or sprinkling on?

    1. Not sure how to work with hard water, arlee…

      Re the rusting: No pre-rusting for this Silk Road series. All the Silk Roads (except # 5) contained iron bundled in with the other dyes, and were eco-printed by steaming, sometimes activated with vinegar, sometimes not…I feel the iron intensifies the colours it comes in contact with, darkening values mostly or bringing some marks into sharper definition…but definitely not “saddening” as described in the dye lit.”Saddening” happens when I modify with iron post-dye bath to get greys, olive greens and even black.

      I do have a stash of rusted vintage linens, some already stitched, that will be host to some eco printing…These were rusted last with “iron bits” by the compost method- IOW, vinegar poured over, wrapped in plastic and left to cook for a while where is is warm, eg in the sun in summer, by the furnace in winter…I will update my Rusted Linens page when I get to this part of The Stash…

      As for clear colours: I think these may be the result simply because silk habotai is such an excellent recipient for the dyes. I could not resist buying to try it – did not have much vintage silk in The Stash to experiment with For sure, the vintage cottons and linens do not show such vibrant shades – but they do have great charm, even so. Thanks, as usual, for the inspiration!

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