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Natural dye

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**Overview of Natural Dyes:**
– Natural dyes are derived from plants, invertebrates, or minerals.
– Majority are vegetable dyes from plant sources like roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood.
– Archaeological evidence dates textile dyeing back to the Neolithic period.
– Dyeing with plants, barks, and insects in China dates back over 5,000 years.
– Dyeing process involves extracting dye compounds with water, then dyeing textiles at heat.

**Dyeing Techniques and Processes:**
– Dyeing process involves soaking material in water with dyestuff, adding textile to dyebath, and simmering for days.
– Some dyes like indigo and lichens work well alone (direct dyes).
– Many plant dyes require mordants to fix color in fibers (adjective dyes).
– Different mordants can yield various colors and modify final dye color.
– Common metallic salt mordants include alum, tin, copper, iron, and chrome.

**Historical Significance and Evolution of Natural Dyes:**
– Scarce dyestuffs like Tyrian purple were prized luxury items in ancient times.
– Plant-based dyes like woad, indigo, saffron, and madder were important trade goods.
– Synthetic dyes in the mid-19th century led to a decline in natural dye market.
– 21st century sees a resurgence in natural dyes due to health and environmental concerns.
– Consumers seek products using natural dyes for sustainability.

**Contributions and Innovations in Natural Dye Industry:**
– Jeremias Friedrich Gülich made significant contributions to refining the dyeing process.
– Gülich focused on setting standards for dyeing sheep wool and other textiles.
– His work on dyeing processes and color theories was praised by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
– Gülich’s contributions improved dyeing techniques and quality of dyed textiles.
– His efforts in dyeing processes left a lasting impact on the industry.

**Specific Dyestuffs and Color Production:**
– Reds, pinks, oranges, yellows, greens, purples, browns, grays, blacks, and unique colors produced by specific plants and materials.
– Different regions and cultures have traditional methods for obtaining specific colors from natural sources.
– Rise of Cochineal Dye and Formal Black as significant developments in the history of natural dyes.
– Techniques for creating a range of colors using lichens, fungi, and specific plant materials.
– Preservation of traditional dyeing techniques and the revival of interest in natural dyes for sustainability and cultural heritage.

Natural dye (Wikipedia)

Natural dyes are dyes or colorants derived from plants, invertebrates, or minerals. The majority of natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources—roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood—and other biological sources such as fungi.

Naturally dyed skeins made with madder root, Colonial Williamsburg, VA

Archaeologists have found evidence of textile dyeing dating back to the Neolithic period. In China, dyeing with plants, barks and insects has been traced back more than 5,000 years. The essential process of dyeing changed little over time. Typically, the dye material is put in a pot of water and heated to extract the dye compounds into solution with the water. Then the textiles to be dyed are added to the pot, and held at heat until the desired color is achieved. Textile fibre may be dyed before spinning or weaving ("dyed in the wool"), after spinning ("yarn-dyed") or after weaving ("piece-dyed"). Many natural dyes require the use of substances called mordants to bind the dye to the textile fibres. Mordants (from Latin mordere 'to bite') are metal salts that can form a stable molecular coordination complex with both natural dyes and natural fibres. Historically, the most common mordants were alum (potassium aluminum sulfate—a metal salt of aluminum) and iron (ferrous sulfate). Many other metal salt mordants were also used, but are seldom used now due to modern research evidence of their extreme toxicity either to human health, ecological health, or both. These include salts of metals such as chrome, copper, tin, lead, and others. In addition, a number of non-metal salt substances can be used to assist with the molecular bonding of natural dyes to natural fibres—either on their own, or in combination with metal salt mordants—including tannin from oak galls and a range of other plants/plant parts, "pseudo-tannins", such as plant-derived oxalic acid, and ammonia from stale urine. Plants that bio-accumulate aluminum have also been used. Some mordants, and some dyes themselves, produce strong odors, and large-scale dyeworks were often isolated in their own districts.

Throughout history, people have dyed their textiles using common, locally available materials, but scarce dyestuffs that produced brilliant and permanent colors such as the natural invertebrate dyes Tyrian purple and crimson kermes became highly prized luxury items in the ancient and medieval world. Plant-based dyes such as woad (Isatis tinctoria), indigo, saffron, and madder were important trade goods in the economies of Asia, Africa and Europe. Dyes such as cochineal and logwood (Haematoxylum campechianum) were brought to Europe by the Spanish treasure fleets, and the dyestuffs of Europe were carried by colonists to America.

The discovery of man-made synthetic dyes in the mid-19th century triggered a long decline in the large-scale market for natural dyes. In the early 21st century, the market for natural dyes in the fashion industry is experiencing a resurgence. Western consumers have become more concerned about the health and environmental impact of synthetic dyes—which require the use of toxic fossil fuel byproducts for their production—in manufacturing and there is a growing demand for products that use natural dyes.

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