29 December 2009

a r b u t u s * u n e d o

Ah, at long last a new dye ... after of course the results of the solar dye with ginkgo ! :) I've been dieing to dye (OK, pun intended !) for weeks, but December had gotten way too busy & crazy, even in the good sense of it.
As you can see in the title of the post, I've been dyeing this past weekend with ...

A R B U T U S * U N E D O

A little info ...
The Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) is an evergreen shrub or small tree in the heather family, Ericaceae, native to the Mediterranean region and western Europe north to western France and Ireland. Despite its name, the strawberry tree does not produce strawberries !
The leaves are dark green and glossy. The hermaphrodite flowers are white, bell-shaped. They are pollinated by bees. The fruit is a red aggregate drupe, sometimes called arbutus-berry, with a rough surface, maturing 12 months at the same time as the next flowering. The fruit is edible, though many people find it bland and mealy; the name 'unedo' is explained by Pliny the Elder as being derived from unum edo "I eat one", which may seem an apt response to the flavour. They mainly serve as food for birds but in some countries (mainly Spain, Morocco & Algeria) they are used to make jam and liqueurs. It contains lot of vitamin C. The tree can resist to dry summers & can survive until -15°C.
The tree produces masses of beautiful white flowers in November and December. Since the fruit takes 12 months to ripen, the tree carries both mature fruit and flowers at the same time and is then incredibly beautiful.
This is a very good tree to grow in towns because it tolerates industrial pollution.

I decided to use the leaves to dye. I mordanted with alum two pieces of fabrics : a piece of white linen & a piece (scarf sized) of silk. I also added silk yarn, like everytime I do these experiements.

Fourth plant dye experiment // Arbutus unedo // Spelling
Fourth plant dye experiment // Arbutus unedo // Oct 09
Fourth plant dye experiment // Arbutus unedo // Dec 09
Fourth plant dye experiment // Arbutus unedo // Making the dye
Fourth plant dye experiment // Arbutus unedo // The dye
Fourth plant dye experiment // Arbutus unedo // Results

Like with most tree leaves, I obtained a (light) yellow, which I am very happy about. :)

To close this end of 2009, the year I started dyeing with plants, I would love to thank from the bottom of my heart : Margie, Cathy, Eva & Carolyn (and Lisa too, but I forgot to include a photo of you dyes in the mosaic, I am so sorry), for giving me the inspiration & motivation to start my own experiments. Of course I also thank my husband very warmly as he's on my side at all time, and enjoy the dyeing process & result as much as me. How lucky am I ?

A huge thanks

See you all in 2010 ... and wishing you lots of happy dyeing with plants experiments !


  1. lovely ... beautiful to see your results .. such a gorgeous colour .. well done ..

  2. Hello Sonia, I am so happy I found your blog today :o)

    Thank you very much for the links and the mosaic. I have more dye experiments in progress at the moment and will blog/flickr soon. I needed some new dyed silk for a project which I will show

    Thank you :o)


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