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Le bois de Campêche

This is a dye plant that I particularly like. First of all because I really like purple, it's one of the only blues I appreciate and simply because it's a coloring with infinite possibilities.

From mauve to black via violet, red, blue and grey, the tones vary endlessly depending on the treatment.

The logwood or "logwood", (Haematoxylum campechianum) is a small tropical tree belonging to the fabaceae family that can reach 15 meters in height.

It owes its name to the Mexican port of Campeche from where, in the 17th century, wood for dyeing was shipped for export. The species is common in Central America and the West Indies.

Logwood is distinguished by its very hard and heavy dark wood (Haematoxylum means "blood wood") and its dark red sap. By metonymy, this coloring substance itself is called logwood or hematin.

The Aztecs, who called it "quamochitl", were the first to discover the coloring properties of hematein in the first millennium. After the occupation of Central America by Spain, Europe began to use this dye in very large quantities, replacing domestic vegetable dyes - woad and indigo. This change had the consequence of causing a recession in the conventional English dye market, resulting in various wars between England and Spain in Latin America in order to control the harvests of bloodwood.

In the 18th century, 95% of silk, cotton, wool and leather dyed black were treated with hematin extract. Two centuries later, in 1950, world consumption of logwood was still around 70,000 tonnes despite strong competition from synthetic dyes. Dominican Republic) ; from Campeche itself only a small quantity now comes.

A compound, hematoxylin (or more precisely its oxidized form, hematein, representing 10% of the wood) is extracted from the heartwood, initially faintly colored, but becoming bright red on exposure to oxygen in the wood. air and the alkaline bases present in the wood. The dye formed, hematein, is used to dye wool, silk, cotton, etc.

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Le coussin de lecture

The reading cushion


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