Fukuyuki Yellow Dye workshop

Teachers: Meichi, Yuma
Location: Li-han Studio

At Lihan studio, you can see yarns dyed in various colors with natural dye. We learned how they make yellow dye with Fukuyuki leafs. Fukuyuki (Garcinia subelliptica, 福木, フクギ in Japanese) tree leafs can be used as a natural dye material, and it makes a beautiful yellow color.


There is a big Fukuyuki tree next to the fire brigade, where we could harvest the leafs. We have dressed up in the traditional harvesting costume (the straw hat and the mantle) with basket on our back, and off to the leaf hunting. Meichi told us that we need 20kg of leaf… which is a lot! The bottom half of the tree looked almost naked after we were done with taking leafs.

This is how the 20kg of Fukuyuki leaf look like.

Now all the leafs should be cut into smaller pieces in order to cook for dye. Yes, we did it one by one with scissors… the whole 20kg!

After it is cut into small pieces, we wash the leafs to get rid of the dirt and dust on the leafs.

In the mean time, yarns that are going be dyed are cooked in ash water (high in pH, Base) as preparation. This process allows the fiber to take the dye easier so it gets colored stronger. Then it is washed, and drained (we used spin cycle of the washing machine). After it got rid of the excess water, we need to stretch them one by one so the fibers are aligned.

Now we place the leafs in bigger pot with water, and we start to cook them until it boils.

We need to stir the leafs constantly while bringing the water to boil so it does not stick to the bottom and burn. Imagine this is in 30+ degrees, and the gas is just at the bottom of the pot.. it is really hot and sweaty jog!

After it starts to boil, we keep the leafs cooked for 20min, then we add the ash water. When adding the ash water to the leaf, the water color drastically change into yellow.

Then, strain the water and separate the colored water from the leaf.

Then bring this yellow water (without the leaf) to boil and it is ready to dye the yarn. Drop the yarn slowly into the water, and keep shaking it once in a while so it gets dyed evenly.

This process reminded me of noodles… It needs to boil for — min. (Aniela, do you remember how long we need to boil this?)

After boiling, we left the yarn in the dye water over night.

Then we washed the yarn, drained it by hand and hang to dry it.

We made an extra experiment dyeing half of the Fukuyuki dye yellow yarn with indigo dye. You can get very nice green blue color this way.

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