I want to try and use Sumac ( Staghorn Sumac or Rhus ) as a tannin instead of Oak galls. I have a ready supply of Sumac plants and leaves as we have a large clump on our allotments and a tree down my road.
I read in Jenny Dean’s Natural Colour that she suggests suing the same amount of Sumac leaves to WOF as you would with Oak Galls.
So I collected a potfull of Sumac leaves to make a concentrated tannin bath to use for eco printing. I boiled the leaves with just enough water to cover them for an hour and then left the leaves in the pot to cool down overnight. The next morning I sieved off the liquid and gave the leaves a good squeeze to get every bit of liquid out.
I prepared old cotton sheet strips for a test. I brought the tannin liquid to the boil and added my ‘tannin blanket’ – I left this to cool down in the liquid for an hour.
I mixed up Iron sulphate crystals – at 4% WOF ( the max that I I have read I should use, without causing damage to the fabric ) I Soaked/mordanted the ‘reciever’ cotton sheet in this bucket of Iron liquid liquid for about 10 mins.
I then laid the iron mordanted fabric on the floor, placed a mixture of leaves on it – placed the Tannin soaked blanket on top and rolled it up very tightly and steamed for 90 mins over the used tannin liquid.
Results – An ok print – not very clear. I did not use a separator sheet of any kind. I used an old plastic bag in my previous tests – I think I will try again using that
I decided to try just Iron mordanted fabric with an Iron blanket over it – to see what happens. I followed exactly the same process as above and added this roll to the steam pot. Steamed for 90 mins.
Results – ok ish – A bit of a mess with over printing of layers – however Herb Robert and Hops leaves worked well.