Arkansas Astringent Persimmon Dye

I discovered the information on using persimmon for dyeing over the winter last year. From my reading they need to be the astringent kind, not the sweet ones in the market…the ones that taste like straight alum and send your face into a pucker that lasts into next week. Yep…that’s the kind we have. I have waited patiently for the wild persimmon tree to set fruit. About a week and a half ago Ron and I picked a bucket full of green persimmons, this is when they have the most tannin in them.

They can be used as a tannin mordant and pre-mordant or with successive dips they give wonderful shades of burnt orange. The more dips and the longer it cures in the sun, the darker the color. Or that’s what we have read so we are experimenting.

This is the photo of  some of the persimmons after soaking in a bucket for over a week. The water looks like Lake Okeechobee in Florida full of tannin.

persimmon soak 1week

I used my Cuisinart Food Processor to grind these up. The Japanese textile blog I saw this on grates them to use them unfermented.

After soaking again overnight they more than doubled in volume. This pan was full to the top!

ground persimmon

According to the information I’ve found on this, the cloth must be exposed to the sun and heat. Well, its pretty hot in Arkansas today so I had to try some cloth in the green goo. I used a piece of white handkerchief linen and a piece of white  rayon. Scoured, of course. The pink spiderweb shibori was a piece Ron did  at Arrowmont and was dyed in a madder exhaust. I soaked them in water first, then lay them on the top of the pot, not caring if some of the ground persimmon got on them.  I was shocked at how much color from a single dip and you can see the backside hasn’t been in the sun as long. I can’t wait to dip these again tomorrow . We are expecting 100 degrees so they should do well in the sun.

persimmon dye dip1 persimmon overdye1