Pau Brasil (caesalpinia echinata) is a slow growing small tree found in South America.It grows up to 12mtrs high and has a large, rounded crown and thorny branches, leaves and fruit. Brazilwood is extremely drought tolerant. The pods and wood are used as a source of black and red dye. Because it is so hard & durable, the wood is also used to make musical instruments, ship building and wood turning. Brazil Wood is its common name but its also know as Pernambuco, Pau de Pernambuco & Tupi Ibirapitang.
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!