Black Walnut is a hardwood tree native to eastern North America and belongs to the hickory family. The hulls and the leaves are traditionally used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis but they can also be used as a natural dye yielding beautiful subtle shades of grey, browns, lichen yellows and ecru. With Alum Mordant you will get honey yellow, Iron Mordant you will get soft grey and Iron you will get Ecru. Boil dried leaves for 20mins then leave to soak overnight to extract most dye colour. Dyes cotton, silk and wool.
Before 1856, Natural dyes were used in time honoured techniques (as far back as 1500BC) but once synthetic dyes were invented in 1856, textile dyers and artisans moved from traditional natural dyes to synthetic dyes to colour their cloth and fibre.
They will dye any natural fibre using a handful of non-toxic mordants and additives to help fix the dye and also give you more colour variations. Natural dyeing is very much about reconnecting with the past - apart from using the plant materials you have at hand in your own garden, there are a number of traditional Natural Dyes and extracts including Indigo, Madder, Cochineal and Fustic.
By combining different dyes, mordants and depths of shade, you will produce an amazing palette of deep to subtle pastel colours. We hope you enjoy your Natural Dyeing adventure!