Madder Root

WIP Red Crow

The madder lac dyed silk organza is much darker than these photos depict, the stencil sketch of the crow barely peaking through due to the lighting.  I managed to stitch an outline of the crow in a coordinating reddish heathered wool thread from Aurifil Threads.

I've decided that this smallish piece will now become part of a larger piece I'm working on for my upcoming solo show, as crows and ravens have always been a prominent icon out here on the western prairie and plains.

A Crow Project

Crow Stencil  from StencilGirl Products outlined in Pitt Pen with Shiva Paintstiks in iridescent copper and white, on madder lac dyed silk organza layered over white silk dupioni fabric.  Timtex core with white cotton backing.  Machine and hand stitching.

The paintstiks don't show up well in this photo, will take a photo tomorrow using natural light.

Corn Silk Project

Sample that I made several years ago from constructed cloth and osage orange dyed silk organza.

Auditioning fabrics for the corn silk piece, osage orange to the far left, madder root in the center, and compost dyed to the right, silk fabrics.

18x45ish inches silk chiffon that has been compost dyed.

Mad about Madder Root e-Class

Available June 1st, 2011 a self directed e-Class dedicated to dyeing with Madder Root. Cost $30 USD

In this class students will learn how to use a traditional madder root vat to create a range of colors on silk and wool fabrics, ranging from deep scarlet to brilliant orange and everything in between. This class is self directed which allows students to work at their own pace.

Membership at the Natural Surface "IS" required and pre-payment is required before accessing class information.

Class will formally open June 1st, 2011 (12:00am CST that's Iowa)

Madder Root on Cotton and Monitor Colors

In case your monitor is reading tans and beige be rest assured that the colors in my Madder Root on Vintage Trims post are in fact peach, coral, and orange! AND there's even a bright neon yellowish to orangish on the nylon cotton blend. NOTE that colors DO vary from monitor to monitor, and my monitor is set to CMYK mode.

While dyeing cotton fabrics does involve a certain amount of work bright colors CAN be obtained on cotton and linen fabrics! Don't be discouraged by what other's say bright colors ARE obtainable on cotton and linen. I've been dyeing cotton for over 15 years now and I'm living proof that it is indeed possible.

Madder Root Dyed Vintage Lace and Trims

Vintage lace and trims I picked up at a yard sale this summer, some are antiques. Everything has been scoured by washing twice in hot water - to get rid of the smell, then boiled with soda ash for two hours. The items were then mordanted with alum and soaked for two days in the alum vat, I then dyed everything with Madder Root Extract I left them to soak in the madder root vat for two days. The brighter yellow items are made of nylon hence the color.

Indigo Fermentation Vat

Natural Indigo Fermentation Vat
Copyright 2006
Kimberly Baxter Packwood

Natural Indigo Fermentation Vat Mini-Vat Instructions

1.0 ounce Natural Indigo Ground
0.5 ounce Madder Root cut into fine pieces
0.5 ounce Bran (Wheat works best, Oat will also work)
3.0 ounce Soda Ash
Stainless Steel, or Enamel, Pot. A plastic bucket may be substituted for the pot, be sure that has a tight fitting lid.

Place warm water, not boiling, into pot, preferably one that holds more than 2 gallons of water.

WARNING: Wear respirator when working with ground indigo, anything in powdered form will float easily in the air making it easily inhaled. This is not good for your lungs!

WARINGING: Soda Ash is highly caustic, wear gloves and dust mask when handling soda ash. Avoid contact with skin.

Dissolve ground indigo in warm tap water, enough to cover and make a rough paste.

Note: The ground Indigo will float at the top of the vat if just thrown into the water make your paste first. The indigo at this point is not completely dissolved, once introduced to the vat; it will dissolve after a few days in the vat.

Add madder root, bran, and soda ash to the warm water stir well then add indigo paste to the vat. Cover, but not tightly, and apply heat source.

Stir the pot once, or twice, a day during the reduction period with one gentle stir. If you stir the vat too often this will introduce Oxygen into the vat.

Depending on where you live, i.e., temperature and humidity levels, the vat can take anywhere from 5 – 10 days to become viable. By viable I mean ready to dye fibers.

Fermentation vats need to be kept warm while reducing. I keep my vat, a stainless steel pot that is covered with a lid, in my studio oven (gas) where the pilot light is continuously on, about 98 degrees F.

The vat needs to be kept at body temperature during the reduction phase.

If you do not have a dedicated oven, I recommend using either a heating pad, with a temperature control knob, or a high quality fish tank heater with digital temperature controls.

Chopped Madder Root

Wheat Bran

Madder Root added to warm water in bucket. Initially it floats at the top of the water’s surface.

The Bran now added to the vat. The bran floats on top of the madder root until they have been sufficiently stirred together, eventually sinking to the bottom of the vat.

Soda Ash has now been added to the vat. The vat has a foamy look from the bubbling action of the soda ash. The mixture has been blended, to ensure that the soda ash does not solidify on the bottom of the bucket.
WARNING: Always add your acids and bases to water, never the other way around! Doing so can result in harmful reactions that can cause injury.
Natural Indigo added to the vat. The Madder and Bran are still floating at or near the waters surface. The indigo while made into a paste, does not want to dissolve in the water as you can see from the globs hanging on the sides of the bucket.