Sappan wood (Ceasalpinia sappan) has become my favourite source of red color for now. Native to Asia, it is the “older” cousin of what is now known as Brazil wood. When the Portuguese invaded what is now Brazil in 1500, the redwood trees they saw growing there reminded them of Sappan wood, which they already knew, called it pau-brasil and used for dyeing along with the rest of the Europe. Because of extensive use for dye and for violin bows, or perhaps the opposite, because the dye business was not economically profitable after the invention of the chemical dyes, or maybe due to both these reasons, the Brazil wood (Ceasalpinia echinata, Paubrasilia echinata) is almost extinct now, Wikipedia says that the trade of Brazilwood is likely to be banned in the immediate future. So now we are back to the good old Sappan wood, which is still available and abundant in India and China. It is used medicinally in both Ayurveda (where it’s called Pathimukham) and in Traditional Chinese medicine (where it’s called Su Mu). Continue reading
Made this egg for someone’s 60th marriage anniversary, based on the traditional design, double yolk goose egg, vinegar etch, gold- coreopsis extract, orange – old sappan wood, then egging etch to white, and backround pink – same sappan wood. The contrast between pink and orange is not clear enough, should have made the background lighter or gone for a dark dye.
Traditional patterns and their surprises, didn’t realize there’s a star at the narrow ends, until I actually made it:
I wanted to keep using the dyes I made for the Pysanky Toronto retreat. The dyes were not very cooperative at the event, but when they came back home and relaxed a bit, they were dyeing just fine, so it would be a shame to not use them. Still working on the strokes, and starting to work on the variety of patterns. All these patterns are from the Lithuanian book.
- Top-left, coreopsis extract then sappan wood
- Top-right dyer’s broom extract, then mulberry, then sappan wood (red)
- Bottom: coreopsis extract, then sappan wood, then vinegar etched to white, then dyer’s broom to bright yellow and immediately after mulberry.
Here are some eggs that I made last year but didn’t get to post on the blog. As usual, natural dye experiments.
Smaller egg – duck, yellow-marigold, brown – dried elderberry (not particularly reliable, seems like). Bigger egg – goose, yellow– marigold, orange – madder, brown – dried elderberry.
Yellow – weld, olive green – malva, blue – cabbage, pink – old madder+cochineal after vinegar. Smallest egg is chicken, then duck, the goose.
Weld (yellow), cabbage (blue, green, teal), duck eggs.
Weld (yellow), cabbage (green/olive), and madder/cochineal (orange), duck eggs
I had a thick pen and some dyes left over from making big eggs (which I will show you later), so I made a few simple eggs. I love using the thick pen even on small eggs.
The dyes did not cooperate so well, especially the red one, not sure why, they might have not liked going in and out of the fridge. The eggs also did not provide a very even coloring surface. Maybe because I wiped some pencil lines with vinegar? To be further explored.
Yellow is coreopsis as usual and red (or rather orange) is madder with cochineal. Duck eggs.