apple, oak, and birch barks

More samples from my ongoing natural dye project. My results do not always tally with the books, but that is part of the fun. I've been enjoying experimenting with tree barks, which are easy to collect from the trees felled for furniture projects or the woodstove. I was surprised by the depth of color I readily pulled from the crab apple bark, and will surely gather as much as I can for continued experiments. Oak bark is known for its susceptibility to modification, which brings a special alchemy to it I think. And the birch bark gave some nice browns, but not the rosy hues I was led to expect by the books. Some say it should be fresh, some say aged over 6 months, and some refer to the mysterious wood ash lye fermentation process. I have read about fermenting lichens with ammonia, and this must be a similar process of extracting less accessible colorants. Research continues... apple bark

Left column from top Fresh apple bark, soaked 1 week, on: cotton raw silk merino 60 merino/40 silk

Right column from top Same dye bath followed by a copper modifier, on: cotton raw silk merino 80 wool/20 linen

oak bark

Left column from top Fresh oak bark, soaked 1 week, on: raw silk 60 merino/40 silk merino 80 wool/20 linen

Right column from top Same dye bath followed by an iron modifier, on: cotton raw silk 60 merino/40 silk merino

birch bark

Left column from top Inner birch bark aged outdoors 1 year, soaked 1 week, on: raw silk merino 80 wool/20 linen

Right column from top Outer & inner birch bark aged outdoors 1 year, soaked 1 week, on: cotton raw silk merino 80 wool/20 linen