14. Jul, 2021

Experimenting with Thickened Natural Dyes

These thickened dyes were pretty much made up from stuff in the pantry apart from the logwood which was an extract. I made up strong tea (4 teabags to the cup for rooibus and black tea, 2 tsp instant coffee for the coffee one and 1 tsp turmeric for the turmeric one and some oak ink I had made previously. I dissolved 1 tsp guar gum ( found in the cooking aisle at the supermarket) into a slurry with a little isopropyl alcohol. I reheated the liquid "teas" to boiling in the microwave and then added the guar gum mix to the tea while whisking thoroughly. The alcohol seems to stop the guar gum from going lumpy as you mix it, The substrates used above are from left to right mordanted cotton, 180 gsm watercolour paper untreated, 300 gsm water colour paper untreated. I did try painting on dry and moistened water colour paper but there was very little difference. The log wood was very dark on the cotton and probably needs less of the extract powder because it is concentrated. On the papers it is quite plum coloured. The turmeric is the bright yellow. The darkest of the browns is the oak ink paste - I thought that would be much darker as the thickened dye was almost black. The next darkest was the coffee and there was hardly any difference between the teas although they looked quite different in the containers. On the sample on the bottom right you can see where I have played at overlaying the dyes - they do mix quite readily. So now I need to use them in a project. They do keep OK in the fridge for several months so no rush for that although I want to try thermofaxing them on some of my botanical prints