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Urban Luthier

Buckthorn Berry Lake

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Hello Members,

I've been experimenting with making my own pigments. I've had good luck making lakes from madder roots and I decided to give it a go with buckthorn berries. I was expecting the resulting lake from the buckthorn berries to be an orangy-yellow (the colour often referred to as 'Indian yellow'). It appears however the lake is tending towards the green side.

Method was cold extraction:

20 grams of ripe buckthorn berries into 1.5 L jar filled with tap water (not sure of the PH but our water is quite hard) with 10 grams of potassium carbonate to extract the colour. I left it alone for 24 hrs and filtered the dye into a clean jar and added 20 grams of Alum.

Image on the left shows what the berries look like during dye extraction -- when held up to the light the dye stuff is a brilliant orange yellow colour with a hint of green. The image on the right shows the lake as it precipitates with the alum

The resulting colour tends toward what I would call 'sap green' rather than 'indian yellow'. In the end the green may be more useful complement to the madder.

Any idea why the lake is tending toward green?

Thanks

Chris

post-45462-0-49980500-1338157572_thumb.jpg

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Once it's dried and applied on a surface the lake will probably look more yellow with a slight hint of green. But mainly yellow. the same happened to me with weld. the greenish coloration is a combination of thickness of the layer (here half a pot) and the presence of water/liquid.

Also I am always surprised (and a little bit disappointed) when I compare the amount of lake during precipitation and the rinsing steps, and the amount you actually get once dried... :(

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Try using aluminium sulphate instead of aluminium potassium sulphate. Buckthorn tend to give a greenish colour if any slight trace of iron is present,of which normal alum usually contains some as a contaminant(the aluminium sulphate is generally free of iron). Also use none metal containers when making it.

The same is true for weld.

Both weld and buckthorn contain small amounts of tannin which reacts with any trace of iron.

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Thanks robertdo and fiddlecollector. I did indeed use aluminum potassium sulphate as the mordant. Fiddlecollctor where would one find aluminum sulphate?

When I filtered the dye stuff it turned the cloth a brilliant bright yellow! See attached

post-45462-0-28011800-1338163109_thumb.jpg

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Once it's dried and applied on a surface the lake will probably look more yellow with a slight hint of green. But mainly yellow. the same happened to me with weld. the greenish coloration is a combination of thickness of the layer (here half a pot) and the presence of water/liquid.

Also I am always surprised (and a little bit disappointed) when I compare the amount of lake during precipitation and the rinsing steps, and the amount you actually get once dried... :(

Sorry to go off topic, I have about 5 bushes of weld hanging in my greenhouse for a couple years drying. Do you have a recipe for proportions of weld, water, alum, etc for making a lake? I wouldn't want to use too much or too little.

My madder root should be ready for harvest this fall. It's not supposed to grow in this climate, but about 35% of the plants survived 3 winters now.

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Thanks robertdo and fiddlecollector. I did indeed use aluminum potassium sulphate as the mordant. Fiddlecollctor where would one find aluminum sulphate?

When I filtered the dye stuff it turned the cloth a brilliant bright yellow! See attached

post-45462-0-28011800-1338163109_thumb.jpg

I just use this type of stuff but check the msds sheet first to make sure you just buy aluminium sulphate without anything else added.

flocculant

The green cast is generally only very slight when using normal alum ,avoiding the iron usually gives better results but not its not always

very noticable.The pool chemical is cheaper in the uk than the Potassium Aluminium Sulphate and can be used just as easily whenever alum is required.

Weld+lake.pdf

Madder+lake.pdf

Dyer's+broom+lake+recipes.pdf

Redwood+lake.pdf

Safflower+red+lake.pdf

Cochineal+lake+recipe.pdf

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Sorry to go off topic, I have about 5 bushes of weld hanging in my greenhouse for a couple years drying. Do you have a recipe for proportions of weld, water, alum, etc for making a lake? I wouldn't want to use too much or too little.

My madder root should be ready for harvest this fall. It's not supposed to grow in this climate, but about 35% of the plants survived 3 winters now.

I don't have precise recipe. But I use a 400mM solution of NaOH to put the weld inside. I was using weld extracts I had bought, and I used 10g of it for 500ml of NaOH. then after filtering I did add 10gm of Alum that had been dissolved in about 250ml of warm water. It was enough to precipitate basically all the weld extract.

You are using plant itself, but I think you could do the same. You can add only part of the alum, let precipitate for some time, and add the rest of the alum if you feel you are not precipitating all of the weld dye. the subsequent water rinsing will remove all the unused salts.

Edit: Fiddlecollector just posted very complete recipes for different lakes.

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I just use this type of stuff but check the msds sheet first to make sure you just buy aluminium sulphate without anything else added.

flocculant

The green cast is generally only very slight when using normal alum ,avoiding the iron usually gives better results but not its not always

very noticable.The pool chemical is cheaper in the uk than the Potassium Aluminium Sulphate and can be used just as easily whenever alum is required.

Many thanks for posting this Fiddlecollector, the Cochineal is one I have been thinking about for a while, do you know how lightfast it is?

Kremer's lake appears not to be lightfast...

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Many thanks for posting this Fiddlecollector, the Cochineal is one I have been thinking about for a while, do you know how lightfast it is?

Kremer's lake appears not to be lightfast...

Ive found Cochineal to be not too bad in regards to fading ,all these natural lakes will fade to some degree,but taken in perspective a violin doesnt sit in direct sun all its life so it isnt to much of a problem, madder i find is more permanent for reds, followed by Lac dye lakes,then cochineal. Cochineal lakes are more tricky to make than madder depending on what colour your looking for,purplish/bluish red is easy, a nice scarlet red is more difficult.

Also just because they may fade doesnt mean they go colourless, they often fade initially to a more muted ,more attractive shade.

Artists have slated madder lakes for years favouring alizarin crimson ,claiming it to be more pernament but ive always found the opposite to be true. So i wouldnt take everything in the art world as gospel.Ive seen samples of these natural colours which are 1000-2000 years old and still have a reasonable amount of colour. These modern colours and pigments have a long way to go to prove how stable they will be.

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Many thanks for posting this Fiddlecollector, the Cochineal is one I have been thinking about for a while, do you know how lightfast it is?

Kremer's lake appears not to be lightfast...

Cochineal, properly prepared, is quite light fast.

For buckthorn, try adding some bark. Strip the bark and scrape the inner yellow layer of the fresh bark and add it to the berries.

on we go,

Joe

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Thanks Joe, when you say bark I assume you mean bark from the buckthorn tree itself?

and thanks Fiddlecollector for posting the recipes!

UL,

Yes. Pick a few stalks that are at least an inch in diameter. Strip the bark. Cut the cylinder of bark into lengths that you can lay down flat and scrape the soft inner bark....it is mushy and stringy....do the scraping on some surface [like a baking pan] that will collect the liquid that comes off as you scrape.

Joe

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Ive found Cochineal to be not too bad in regards to fading ,all these natural lakes will fade to some degree,but taken in perspective a violin doesnt sit in direct sun all its life so it isnt to much of a problem, madder i find is more permanent for reds, followed by Lac dye lakes,then cochineal. Cochineal lakes are more tricky to make than madder depending on what colour your looking for,purplish/bluish red is easy, a nice scarlet red is more difficult.

Also just because they may fade doesnt mean they go colourless, they often fade initially to a more muted ,more attractive shade.

Artists have slated madder lakes for years favouring alizarin crimson ,claiming it to be more pernament but ive always found the opposite to be true. So i wouldnt take everything in the art world as gospel.Ive seen samples of these natural colours which are 1000-2000 years old and still have a reasonable amount of colour. These modern colours and pigments have a long way to go to prove how stable they will be.

the above bears repeating. well said fiddlecollector

Oded

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You can also buy very easily and for quite cheap all kind of vegetal extracts form which you can make lakes. Because to get 10-20g of a lake (whatever it is) you usually have to use quite a large amount of starting material.

I remember reading that oak bark (and maybe other barks) contains large amount of quercitron, from which you get a bright yellow lake that at one point supeseded Weld.

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UL,

Yes. Pick a few stalks that are at least an inch in diameter. Strip the bark. Cut the cylinder of bark into lengths that you can lay down flat and scrape the soft inner bark....it is mushy and stringy....do the scraping on some surface [like a baking pan] that will collect the liquid that comes off as you scrape.

Joe

Thanks Joe. Very informative!

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