You Asked: What Did I Do Wrong With My Ceriops Tagal?

Thanks so much to Sue who wrote to us and documented with her own images, asking why she didn’t get the color she’d hoped from Ceriops tagal.

She writes: “I dyed a linen apron and mask commercially dyed off-white. Total weight 225 grams. I scoured them according to Botanical Colors and Catharine Ellis using washing soda. Allowed to dry. Wetted out and mordanted fabric was soaked in a tannin bath made from 30% WOF dried winged sumac leaves, whirled in processor. The fabric was immediately put in a cold mordant of 12% WOF potassium aluminum sulfate and 1.5% WOF washing soda, and left in the bath overnight. The fabric turned out quite yellow when pulled from the mordant.
I used all 100 grams Ceriops tagal extract made according to recipe from Botanical Colors. A copper pot was used to boil the extract. 3 1/2 weeks later, cheating on the full month by a few days, I reboiled the dye in the copper pot and let cool. It was strained and returned to original bucket. I added a gallon of rain water so there would be enough liquid to float the fabric.
The fabric was soaked 5- 10 minutes and pulled out to let drip between each dipping, a total of 10 dips. The fabric seems saturated, not deepening in hue, so I stopped there. It hung to dry 4 days, rinsed and washed.
This (above) is the result after several rinsings and washings. The faint light spots along the neck and pockets are an attempt at resist dyeing using spring clothespins. Although not terribly disappointed with the color results, I certainly did not reach the depth of color I was striving for. Where is the red?

FROM KATHY: You did everything right and got a very beautiful color! A few things to keep in mind about Ceriops is that the Indonesian dyers dip and dye and air many times to get the very deep shades (similar to indigo) and also that their Ceriops dye bath is super strong and they never throw out their dye bath. They save it, add more dye to it, and then dip some more.
Maybe keep ageing and adding to your dye and redipping?

Learn more about and shop our Threads of Life Ceriops tagal here.