copper beech

Outside my office window is a beautiful tree with red and burgundy leaves. Thanks to the growth in that part of my garden its a bit hard to get to, but I made the effort the other day and noticed that the backs of the leaves, although green, had a pinkish pigment.

I did a quick search and found out that it's a copper beech tree. There's not much online about using it for natural dying but my dye pot was empty so I gathered some leaves and crossed my fingers.

dyebath colour

dyebath colour

And from the pink dyebath, came green! And a really lovely one...

from left to right: copper beech leaves, with a quick and weak iron dip, and from the exhaust dyebath (that was still pink)

from left to right: copper beech leaves, with a quick and weak iron dip, and from the exhaust dyebath (that was still pink)

Fascinating and wonderful! 

The details:

63g of copper beech leaves, roughly chopped, covered with water and boiled for an hour
25g plus a tiny sample skein, pre mordanted with alum and cream of tartar

held below a simmer for one hour and left to cool
removed both dyed skeins, and then added a fresh sample skein and held below a simmer for another hour, removed it
to the dyebath added a pinch of iron and then added back the first dyed sample