Tuesday, August 30, 2016

More About Pecans

In the last post  Pecan Season ....a Florida dyer's favorite time of year.I made at by previous blog I promised more info about pecans as well as other Florida plants that are my favorites for natural dying and contact printing. So here it is. I know, I know, its been a very long time.... 

I'm still yet to be lucky enough to beat the squirrels to very many pecans, but still look forward to collecting the fresh hulls they leave behind. From them I get fabulous rich shades of  brown ranging from dark chocolate, with a minute amount of iron. With no mordant or mordanted with alum the hulls will give me warn tones of coffee. . A bit of copper give the browns a wonderful gold or bronze glow.  Sometimes I like to tie the hulls directing into the wet mordanted fabric and add to a hot dye bath or steam. Or as in the case of the scarves below I just seal the in a glass jar and let them heat in the Florida sun over a period of days or weeks.  The silk scarf on the left was premordanted with potassium alum, Bundled with pecan hulls and copper pennies then steeped in a cochineal dye bath.  The second and the last scarf were bundled with eucalyptus and camphor leaves and steeped in a bath of dye extracted from pecan hulls. The middle scarf was tied with acorns, bits of pecan hulls, copper pennies and left to heat in a steamy jar for several weeks.  Then it was taken out and splashed with a very weak solution of iron water, returned to the jar for a few more days.  The one in back(I'm sorry doesn't show up well is the result of mordanting the cloth with copper before tying and bundling with the fresh hulls and again, allowing the wet silk to heat in the sun a few days in a sealed jar

Detail photos of the firsts scarf on the left and the middle scarf

Detail of second scarf.

The photo below is an example of brown obtained just from contact dying with fresh pecan hulls on silk with no mordant.  Pecans produce a substantive dye and require no mordant to be color fast, I add various mordant to alter the color though.

Although the fresh hulls render the most potent and concentrated dye, the leaves or bark of the tree also renders strong dyes.  The leaves are particularly good for "eco" or contact printing requiring no mordant to be colorfast.  However, in the photos below the one on the left was mordanted with a very light iron light soak, even a tiny bit more iron would leave black prints,  The one on the left I used copper.

This paper was dyed and printed by first soaking in alum with a bit of soda ash.  Then I steamed with slivers of  curcumin root (turmeric),  hibiscus flowers and pecan leaves.  The alkaline ph turns red hibiscus blue or green. The yellow is from the turmeric, which also mixed with the hibiscus and brightened the green.