Whilst I was pondering the future last autumn, I picked a small bag of sloe berries from the Blackthorn trees along my local hedges and then froze them. The beautiful midnight blue berries are an important winter food source for birds such as thrushes, blackbirds, redwings and fieldfares. So, as with all plant material I forage, I only take a few berries from each tree to produce my natural dye.
The berries were gently heated to break down and release their colour. The cooked berries smelt delicious and produced a lovely rich burgundy colour. I strained the fruit through muslin and expecting a wonderful dark pink colour I tested it with a small piece of tissue paper. The paper turned pink but a bit blotchy, so I gave it a quick rinse. Much of the pink was just the fruit residue and washed away but the paper was still a pinky blue. However once the paper was dry, it had turned to a beautiful blue colour more reflective of the fresh sloe berry skins.
The dye produced shades of blue from a deep purple blue to a pale grey blue depending on how long the paper as in the dye.
26 May 2021