JC, me & Cree Round Dance::Memoir Of A Pau Wau Dancer Living The Indigo Blues
You Don’t Know What Love Is Unless You Know The Meaning Of The Blues
Today I’m doing a tannin bath and mordant on linen cocktail napkins. Cellulose fibers require a tannin bath before applying a mordant. I use alum as my mordant. Alum bonds easily on protein fibers but not so good on cellulose. So, a tannin is used. Why do we mordant? Answer: To make the fabric colorfast and lightfast.
I’ve experimented with all of the most common tannins but for the linen cocktail napkins, I’m using Oak Gall or Gallnut (quercus infectoria). It’s a clear tannin that won’t add color to the fabric. My plan is to eco-print these little napkins, and I want the colors to be vivid on a white background. In one gallon of water, I’m using 10-12% WOF (weight of fabric) of Gallnut. I weigh and record fabric before I scour it. Gallnut comes from the oak tree and is produced by insects that lay eggs in small punctures they make on young tree branches. These eggs are collected and ground for use as powdered tannin, which is what I’m using.
While the cocktail napkins are simmering, I’m pressing a dozen of the cotton napkins to prepare them for the “Little Canoe” resist design pattern. I finished most of the resist design pattern on the tablecloth last night. I now have to do the four ends, and the tablecloth will be ready for the dye pot. I’m going to get everything ready for the dye pot and do back-to-back drop-ins until the pot is exhausted.