Beatrice bear has been helping Liz in the garden on these sunny summer days.
She has her own little berry bag and collects all the berries she can reach.
She enjoys helping and dreams of the lovely pies and cakes and juice Liz will make for all the bears to eat.
When some berries stain her dress she is excited about the colour and would like them to stay on her dress but Liz explains about berries being “fugitive “ dyes.
Beatrice didn’t know that word and asks lots of questions so she could explain to the other bears how berry dye washes out and preparation of the fabric with a “mordant” is very important to make the colour light and wash fast.
To answer the many questions Beatrice asked, Liz decides to dye a favourite dress worn by her.
They use Cochineal Beatles and grind them up to a powder and add water, the dress is soaked in Alum and then cooked in the Cochineal.
Some indigo sprinkles were added to create the squished berry design.
Beatrice stirred carefully until the dress was ready to be rinsed and dried.
She was brimming with excitement when she modelled it in the bear room and explained the new words she had learned as they ate blackcurrant muffins.
One new bear in particular was captivated and asked Beatrice many questions about the dyeing.
Ohhh I wonder if that new bear keeps their fascination with natural dyeing.
Beatrice’s new words
Fugitive dye - disappears after washing with soap, not light or colourfast
Mordant - A mordant or dye fixative is a substance used to bind colour to fabrics
Mordant red 19