Alder Bark Natural Dye

While I was at Fish camp – I peeled bark off from an alder wood my brother cut down for smoking the salmon.  When I returned to Fairbanks- after talking with Lolly Carpluk and her mom – I was able to get instructions from Lolly and her mom to do my first experiment of natural dyes.  

By their instructions: I mixed together alder bark, salt and warm water.  I soaked the hairless seal skin into the mix for few days.  I checked it a few times until the desired red color was present.  I will experiment with soaking it in white vinegar first and try the alder dye again or visaversa. 

Author: Nasek'taq

Merna Wharton “Nasek’taq” is Yup'ik from Akiacuaq (Akiachak) lives in Anchorage Alaska. Merna is an Alaska Native artist, poet, traditional and contemporary seamstress, carver, gatherer of greens and berries, and loves the outdoors of Alaska! Merna enjoys finding art in natural elements and shares her experiences through her website, nasektaq.com. Merna crafts to preserve her culture and art and shares her worldview from a remote village Yup’ik girl’s perspective with a glimpse of life in Alaska in her writing and poems. More information about her art can be found at https://www.rasmuson.org/49writers/artist-profile/merna-wharton/.