gave pretty much nothing with alum, but did come out with an interesting shade when iron was added.
Sappan wood with calcium and alum (red) over gardenia with alum (yellow).
Madder with calcium and alum (orange background) over gardenia with alum (yellow).
I was about to throw them out, but since the flower/plant has such significance in the East, I just had to try. I cooked up flower heads and leaves separately, here is what I got: top left – leaves with alum bottom left with alum and iron, top right – flower heads with alum, bottom right – with alum and iron. These were white hydrangea exactly the same as in the photo.
Take-away: leaves with alum are the more potent source of yellow that turns green-ish with iron. Would be interesting whether differently coloured plant (not white blooming) would have different results, and since hydrangea themselves are quite ph sensitive, so might be the dyes.
Try them yourselves if you have any!
Elderflower with alum (yellow base), sappan with alum (final color), pattern from Ferenchuk’s book
Elderflower with alum, pattern from Ferenchuk’s book.
I thought it would be interesting to use camomile on a traditional egg pattern with sort of inverted camomile on it.
Yellow – dried camomile with alum (herbal tea bag), black – logwood with iron. The yellow did not adhere very well to the egg shell, but it might just be something wrong with the egg itself, it worked ok on other eggs.
The pattern in from Vira Manko’s book, from Yaroslav, Nadsyannya.
I have tried logwood essence in the past and was not overly happy with it – it only gave black, was prone to “caking” (I think that’s what it can be called, when the dye accumulates on the surface of the egg but comes off easily whith the wax), sort of found a solution – placing the back egg into another dye (I think I used red Sappan wood), to seal the black of logwood more to the surface of the egg, and didn’t make it again even though I do still have some of the essence powder.
Then, me being the restless experimenter, I saw the logwood chips being sold in one of the online shops, and could not resist buying them and trying them out.
According to Cardon, logwood (Lat. Haematoxylum campechianum) was the Mayan black dye, the word for logwood tree and for the color black are the same in Mayan language. It was brought to Europe along with the other South- and Central American dyes, and at the beginning caused some confusion – the lilacs, blues and purples achieved with logwood were extremely desirable but not lightfast, so at some point there was even an attempt to outlaw the logwood dye. When the Europeans finally got over their fashion desires and started using logwood for the black, the ration of quality per price of it ended up being much better than other sources of black, including the later non-natural version. It kept being used long after the invention of the chemical dyes, the last shipment of logwood logs came to England around the beginning of the second world war, and the last of that was milled sometime in the 1960-s. Logwood essence was already in use for a while and was more economical to bring over. It is still used now in medical pathology, haematoxylin which is made from logwood is a common stain used in histology.
So, here are some of my first logwood chip result. I have soaked them in boiling water with some calcium, and the first batch of dye was this soaked water, the second one was the same chips simmered in new water again, giving a very similar if not the same result. The dye I got was a bit brown-looking, and was giving a sort of cream to meauve to purplish brown. With strong yellow it produced the mustardy-green, and with alum – dark almost black purple. Some of the instructions said, if it looks brown, then the acidity of it can be reduced to result in a more bluish color, so I did add some baking soda since I did not have the suggested ammonia, and indeed the changed the outcome towards greyish-blue with alum and black with iron. Similar results on turkey eggs.
I’ll try to get some ammonia and play more with it.
And some more buckthorn experiments, the lighter one with alum, the darker one with iron. I might stop making it with alum except maybe as a base for other colors, however the chocolate color with iron is very handsome looking.
The wax is still on, the contrast will be stronger once it’s off.