p h y t o l a c c a * a m e r i c a n a

Ok, so today I'm reporting a kind of unsuccessful experiment. I knew it had to happen, but this won't discourage me, and I'd rather say the contrary ! I'm a bit busy at the moment, but I'll try to dye with something new as soon as it will be possible. :)
I tried a new process (macerating the fruits for a couple of days) but I don't think it helped, and I think it wasn't the appropriate way to get these fruits tinctorial power. But, anyway. I had fun, hubby too ... even though we were hoping for a slightly darker color. (at least)

So ... this time we used

P h y t o l a c c a * a m e r i c a n a

... also known as American Pokeweed, American nightshade, cancer jalap, coakum, garget, inkberry, pigeon berry, pocan bush, poke root, pokeweed, redweed, scoke, red ink plant. With such names, I think I had too high expectations ! LOL

OK let's move onto the photography fun ! :)

Really, don't they have gorgeous shape & colors ?!


Macerating the fruits in water & a dash of vinegar, for a couple of days

Mordating with alum

In the dye

Barely visible results

Comparison with undyed silk yarn

Comparison with undyed silk bourette (silk waste) (undyed on the right)

Comparison with undyed linen (undyed on the right)

What did I learn from this experiment ?
Not to have too high expectations, not to be discouraged and to experiment some more, ah ! :)


  1. I like your outlook! Yes, experiment more! And either way, this was a beautiful journey you took us on. I love your photos here, especially 3 and 4.

  2. Ok. I think this is something I am going to have to try. Where does one start to learn the basics of natural plant dyeing?

  3. i love this post
    it isn't often we report on our disappointments
    but the photographs are outstanding

  4. I agree Margie. Those berries are beautiful too, they look like they'd burst with colour, interesting that they kept the colour to themselves.

  5. These photos are simply stunning! Keep trying! Love this experimenting you're sharing!

  6. I'm sorry this batch didn't work out quite as you planned, but the photos are absolutely stunning! Really beautiful.

  7. these photographs are beautiful .. very interesting to read about your experiments .. thankyou for sharing your experience, even if you didn't achieve what you set out to do .. the photos are worth the effort (from my point of view..)

  8. Strange that it didn't dye when it looks so lovely and dark in the dyepot! Beautiful photos of your process and results nonetheless. Just please be careful with the less common dyeplants - best to stay away from anything toxic. Natural dyes are not always green and safe, they can contain pretty nasty chemicals too!

  9. Why do you use alum ? it's not necessary and less ecological. You had to expect more time before dying. I tried it this automn and I got some pink very strange and gorgeous. But I think, now you know how to process.
    Very beautiful photos.

  10. hello! i am new to your blog but am so glad to have learned of it. please try pokeberry again! it gives beautiful deep reds - similar to cochineal. try alum mordanted wool and boil up the berries while fresh.


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