Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Special Delivery - Dyeing Supplies

I got home from work yesterday (Monday) and discovered that the elves had been by early and delivered my shipment of leather dye materials. This was exciting as it wasn't scheduled to be delivered until Wednesday.

I had ordered a small sampling of some of the materials I need from a company in Vancouver, in the hopes that they would be good. That way I don't have to deal with currency exchanges and getting the stuff across the border.

As a start, I ordered some indigo (blues), some brazilwood (red) and some green buckthorn berry extract (yellow). The only key ingredient they were missing was ripe buckthorn berries, which make a green colour. I'll have to order that from the US.

Here's a pic of what came in:

I'm super impressed actually. Not only did it arrive early, but it came with printed copies of their instructions on how to use the materials (at least, how to use them for fabric dyeing). I think I'll be using them again!

So last night, while Avelyn was doing some sewing, I went down and started translating my recipes into usable instructions. I've got the indigo recipe ready to go, since that is my next project.

But, I couldn't resist doing a quick experiment with the brazilwood, just to see how the colour would turn out. I mixed a small amount of the brazilwood dust with some water, which is the first step in my recipes anyway. If the leather gets a colour anything like the colour in the water, I'll be really happy. Here's a pic:

Brewing a bit of a brazilwood extract.

Before I can do my indigo dye, I need to track down some gum arabic powder. All I can find at the art stores locally is pre-dissolved liquids used for mixing with paints. I've tried the local bulk stores and most of the natural foods places, so my next try will be at the Middle Eastern grocery store. If not, I'll have to order some and get it shipped, which will delay things a bit.

I'm also having problems translating some of the terminology in the book. I know what "lime" is, but I can't find a definition of "live lime". Same thing with lye, what's "sweet lye" and how is it different from just plain old "lye"? And of course, I still need to figure out the eternal question of how long is a Paternoster as a measurement of time.

Oh well, guess there's still more to learn! :)

**** On an unrelated note, we also ordered a silk painting starter set from the same store as my dye materials, so we can start working on banners etc. over the holidays.

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