Archive for November, 2013

Results of the walnut dye from my 100-mile sourced (Kelowna Lake) walnut husks. This first dye bath was the walnut husks boiled up right away for a few hours and then the fabric bundles, some with rose and eucalyptus leaf additions – simmered for a few hours. Silk and wool fabrics used in this dye bath.

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Over-dyed silk dupioni – stripe down the middle exposed fabric walnut dye. Fabric had been previously dyed with other natural plant dyes.

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Silk organza fabric (undyed) with shibori resist (folded fabric and clamped rectangle) in walnut dye bath.

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Previously plant dyed silk sateen fabric – shibori folded fabric to create resist – added rose and eucalyptus leaves – in walnut dye bath.

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Silk Sateen – Detail. Rose leave imprint.

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Silk and Metal fabric over dyed in walnut dye bath (fabric was previously dyed in other plant dyes which left a subtle colour). Applied random shibori resist ties with yarn leaving lighter coloured circles. The metal in the fabric creates a heavily textured surface after emerging from hot dye bath.

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Wool jersey fabric, shibori folded, bundled with eucalyptus and rose leaves with rusted rebar before partially emerging in walnut dye bath. The 100% wool imparts a mahogany rich brown.

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Well protected hands… mushing up the walnut husks before boiling. One whole in tact walnut trapped inside the mush.

2013-11-01 13.08.06

Bounty. Roasted walnuts (best tasting walnuts I have ever tasted), walnut tree leaves, walnut husks.


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Luckily the fall weather here has been wonderful – so on a sunny day I was hoping to collect some walnut husks to use for dyeing some lengths of silk. I had previously tried a walnut dye on one of my shibori  sleeve designs and loved the rich brown colour that the walnut dye gave on the silk and linen fabric:

Silk and Linen shibori (hand stitched resist technique) sleeve design - black walnut dye -

Silk and Linen shibori (hand stitched resist technique) sleeve design 2012 – black walnut dye.

I wasn’t sure where our urban walnut trees were so I did a google search and came across a local blog called the ‘Urban Huntress’ http://www.urbanhuntress.com/resources/foraging/ which is about foraging for food in Vancouver. There was a reference to an international ‘falling fruit’ map ( http://fallingfruit.org ) which showed me the location of a variety of trees including 2 Black Walnut trees just down the road from me.  I was so excited…unfortunately, the map is not completely accurate as it turned out that the said trees were Chestnut trees. Wah.

However, the notion that if you put an idea out there in the world and it will happen for you came true, lo and behold a client of my partner David happened to mention her black walnut tree in Kelowna! He alerted her to my wish and she just happened to be coming down to Vancouver and today I received my black walnut husks along with a bag of delicious roasted walnuts. Now that’s serendipity.

Walnut Tree

My walnut tree source – near a lake in Kelowna

Walnut pic

Detail of my source – walnuts enclosed in their green husks – popping out all over

Ok, must get to work processing my found walnut bounty some of which I will air dry for future use over the dark days of winter. My plan is to immediately dye linen, cotton and silk fabric that has been prepared both with and without a mordant. The advantage of walnut dye is that it is known for being colour and lightfast with or without a mordant – but typically using a mordant (like alum) will make the colour richer and more saturated. In my case I will be using the HUSKS only that were collected a few days ago which are already oozing and gooey so it will be interesting to see the results which I will publish in a separate post. M.U.S.T. remember to wear gloves!

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