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Plum Sucker Roots

Forager/Dyer/Human Collaborator: Geraldine Sundstrom

Plant/Non Human Collaborator: Plum Sucker Roots

Color/Fiber: Soft pink on cotton, linen, and wool with a tannin mordant. Orange on wool mordanted with Alum.

Heated Tannin Bath

Date Foraged: 11 March 2021

Location Foraged: 1242 Garfield St

Dye Method: Stovetop

Recipe + Notes:

I used the roots from

one plum sucker plant. Approximately 8 pieces each 6 inches long and averaging .75 inches in diameter.

Mordant -Cotton and linen soaked in cold acorn tannin dispersed in rainwater (also foraged at my home at 1242 Garfield in Eugene OR) for 24 hours. One piece cotton and linen then heated on stove for 1 hour in tannin solution. Wool was pre mordanted with Alum.

Dye -The plum sucker roots simmered in rainwater on the stove for 1 hour. Then the cold tannin cotton/linen, heated tannin cotton/linen and alum wool were added and steeped for 1.5 hours on heat then cooled in dye overnight.

2nd round

-The next day I re-simmered the roots in the same dye bath for 2 hours then strained.

-I soaked two pieces wool roving in the leftover tannin solution- one piece had no pre-mordanting and one had been mordanted with alum.

-These pieces simmered in the strained plum root solution for 1 hour then cooled overnight.

I wanted to remove the plum sucker plants to make room in my yard for more fruit trees and noticed that their roots are a lovely red/orange. I previously viewed the suckers coming from my big old plum tree as a nuisance. Now I see the beauty that they hide under the surface. I have reached out to my neighbors to collect the roots of their suckers if they choose to remove them. Instead of eradicating them from my yard I carefully re-pot them after I harvest some roots!


Cold Tannin Bath


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