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THE FINISHING TOUCH. : Page 138


sandpaper the rattan with No. o sandpaper until it

is smooth. The basket is now prepared for the

last process. This is either to finish the rattan in its natural color with a dull or polished surface, or to color it with stains or vegetable dyes.

Just a word as to aniline dyes. The Shah of Persia punishes with death the man who brings them into his kingdom, and we are tempted to exclaim with him "Off with his head!" when we hear of a person who, having seen the soft, beautiful coloring made with vegetable dyes, returns to the crude and quickly fading aniline colors. Laziness can be the only excuse, and even that is a poor one, for extracts of most of the vegetable dyes can be bought of dealers in dye woods in our principal cities, and the dyes are not hard to manage. Believing that only such colors as are found in natural basket materials should be used in basketry, but few dyes are mentioned in the following directions; but these suggestions will perhaps lead the worker to experiment further with vegetable dyes. It is a fascinating part of basketry, the coloring of materials, and yields large results for the time and trouble invested. Then, too, in experimenting with vegetable dyes the worker is naturally led out of doors and may discover dyes when he least expects them. For instance, one basket maker found in the purple iris a dye almost as deep as its own blossoms. The faded flowers

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