natural dyeing, brazilwood

deep red color rosette from brazilwood

It’s the end of august already? How time flies–it seems to me as I am getting of age, each passing day goes by ever so quickly. When I was a teenager growing up in Malaysia, I always wondered why it took so long for me to grow up to be an adult. Instead now, it’s the other way around. Nevertheless, life is good but sometimes I wish the pace is a bit slower.

Today, like any other weekend-was a day for me to play and experiment outside in my little “studio’. And the post today is an interesting dye from a certain wood call brazilwood, named after a country. Can you guess what it is?

Brazilwood (caesalpinia echinata), or sappanwood is a tropical hardwood, discovered by the Portuguese explorers who found these trees growing on the coast of South America. They also found that the heartwood of the tree yields a brilliant red pigment (brazilin), which was ideal for dyeing, thus making the trees a lucrative commodity for trading. Following are results from the various experiments I made using this dye.

R-L: powdered dye; crimson red color dye bath from brazilwood.

deep rose color arranged in a rosette. This is the background, applied to a “fold and clamp” or shibori technique.

itajime shibori, technique with triangle-shaped resist. Then the bundle was over-dyed in indigo dye bath for a purple color

here, I applied the same method as above, using a hexagon resist, and then over-dyed in indigo.

another piece clamped with round resist and dyed in brazilwood

yet, another shibori technique that I love–arashi shibori, or pole wrapping.

The red has somehow turned into violet purple, and white was a result from the tied markings which acts as resist in this technique.

a tunnel of purples and whites

so much fun pulling and stretching the folds.

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“A smile is worth a thousand words, live happy, dye happiest.”

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