Mulberry Bark

Several weeks ago I was sent some mulberry bark by a kind lady who had collected some from a fallen branch from an ancient tree and thought I might like to try it out in the dyepot. As I’ve never tried mulberry bark before, I was interested to see what sort of colours it might give.

I started by leaving the bark to soak in water for a week or two and then I simmered it for about an hour, before adding some alum-mordanted and unmordanted wool fibres. I used about the same weight of fibres and bark and I kept the temperature just below a simmer, as the tannin in barks can sometimes dull the colour if the temperature is too high. When the fibres had taken up as much colour as possible, I turned off the heat and left them to soak overnight. I then applied alkaline and iron modifiers to some of the samples.

The photo below shows the colours I obtained.

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Left to right: No mordant, no mordant + washing soda, no mordant + iron, alum mordant, alum + washing soda, alum + iron

Some of the colours produced from the mulberry bark are more yellow in tone than the colours often obtained from barks and I was interested to see how little they reacted to the two modifiers I used. My thanks to Ann Machin for supplying the bark for this experiment.

One Response to “Mulberry Bark”

  1. Sandra says:

    Hi, Jenny,
    I’ve used mulberry wood chips (from the woodturner’s waste pile) and got a lovely yellow very similar to your alum sample. So the wood seems to generate the same colors as the bark in this case (not always the case with every tree).
    Cheers – Sandra