dyed with henna

I have used henna for our last dyeing experiment which we have been doing with Marian from Florcita over the past weeks. This time we just picked a dye we had at home in our stock. She dyed yellows and since I had no natural yellow dye I tried henna for the first time.

Henna is a substantive dye which means that no fibre mordanting is needed prior dyeing because of the present tannins. However, premordanting does no harm and enhances fastness. The fibres I used were all mordanted – in the same way as the fibres I used for my previous experiments.

great difference in the depth of color between vegetable (circle) and protein (row) fibres

protein fibres: merino (darkest) and various silks

I was surprised that merino wool took up much more color than silks, it’s usualy opposite.

The color of merino is brown towards orange, similar to some of the tea dyes, but stronger. Somewhere close to cinnamon, sepia or russet.

Vegetable fibres, although well mordanted and dyed at the same conditions as protein fibres, took up just a little bit of color. It is visible even more on the next sample: nunofelted cotton fabrics on merino which was later dyed in the henna exhaust.

It’s such a pleasure to look at these samples, compare them and see the very subtle differences in hues of one color. It may often be brown, yellow or grey, yet always a different shade.


5 thoughts on “dyed with henna

  1. It seems like vegetable fibres just don’t react at all to henna! Unmovable! LOL I do love the silks and wool… what a nice shade… one could even make a ladder of hues from tea, henna and then walnuts…
    I have learnt to appreciate the natural hues… they all seem to coordinate together so well. I still have some more to post about the yellows… Im afraid I wasn’t as “concentrated” these past weeks. But I can not wait for part two of this programme ahahaha We will see the botanical colours back in September or so!

    (btw, I added your link because I wrote the post in a rush and then editted like an hour later…sorry!)

  2. I love the subtleness of the colours of your natural dyeing, it is so wonderful how we develop our sense of appreciation for hundreds of shades of brown and yellows, when we are natural dyeing…my dh would say “oh another beige” but not to me, it was a totally different beige…lol Natural dyeing finites our colour vision…

  3. Hi Cedar,
    you have expressed it so well (being a native speaker), something I have had on my mind whenever I write about these experiments, always lacking the right words. Thank you! 🙂

  4. Well, we know how well it works on hair and wool is hair…I wonder if people tried to dye textiles with it and just sort of accidentally discovered how well it worked on hair – perhaps the hair on their hands and arms? OR if people have just always sought ways to dye their hair…or, maybe, it was first used by those who used hairy hides and wool? That’s very interesting and, like you, I’m surprised by your results.

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