We have a limited amount of fruitwood chips from apple, pear, cherry and plum trees that came from a small farm after their annual tree pruning. Fruit tree leaves, bark and fallen twigs are a fascinating source of found color.
Sarah Tremaine is a textile artist, dyer and environmental scientist in Virginia who lives on that farm and did lots of tests and experiments with fruitwood trimmings as part of her own practice and shared the results with us.
We quickly became enamored of the wonderful shades, and were able to get some boxfuls of her annual pruning and trimmings for your next dye exploration. These are bark chips, twigs and buds from four trees: Cherry, Apple, Pear and Plum and the colors are blossom soft and aromatic. Create your own “Ode to Spring” palette!
The chips consist of rough pieces and small twigs with both fruitwood and bark.
Use about 100-200% on the weight of fiber and soak overnight. The next day, simmer the chips for 1-2 hours to extract the dye bath, carefully strain and then use the strained liquid for your dye bath. Save the chips to extract again or use for eco-printing. Add mordanted fibers to the dye bath and let simmer for 45 minutes or longer. A longer simmer yields darker shades. An iron postbath will create greenish gray to medium gray colors to extend the palette. And the dyes smell wonderful!
Different fibers will yield different colors. We used wool gauze mordanted with aluminum potassium sulfate and got some lovely, soft shades.
Cherry – Creates a soft gold
Plum – Creates an orange-gold
Apple – Creates a clear yellow
Pear – Creates a soft pink tone
We sell each fruitwood in 250g bags.
We are unable to ship these dyes internationally as the chips are untreated. Thank you for understanding.