Cynthia St. Charles Store

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Solar Dyeing with Wild Sumac

Skunkbush Sumac (Rhus aromatica Aiton)

These bushes grow wild all around our property. Although this plant is closely related to Poison Ivy and Poison Oak, apparently the berries are edible and have many medicinal uses by Native Americans. I wrapped the berries and leaves into bundles of habotai silk and cotton broadcloth.The fabrics had been soaked in Alum and Cream of Tartar solution, and this was also poured into the jar to submerge the fabric.

Since the sumac berries come on rather late in the summer, I didn't have a lot of time for Solar Dyeing. These jars only sat in the sun for about a month - and the weather was not all that warm for much of that time. Nevertheless, this is one of my favorites.There is quite a bit of color variation and patterning - especially on the silk.

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