Ancient Craft of Plant Dyes

In an era where we want less and less chemicals in our lives, and appreciate traditional crafts need keeping alive, its time to rediscover the wonderful power of plants to colour our world, rather than rely solely on dyes from the pharmaceutical industry.

I attended two one-day courses in plant dyeing, to get a basic understanding of procedures. Then I was inspired to collect my own plants from verges along walks, and start dyeing backgrounds ready for silk painted panels in my bespoke garment making.  Although I’ve also bought powder dyes; so far I have used only plants I have collected, including home grown woad. All recommended plants give good cream, beige and golds of differing tones; perfect for painting colours over.

At first the idea of using bought powdered plant dyes was fascinating enough, but since foraging myself, I have preferred to go with the plants found, having discovered the wondrous golds obtained.  The cream and gold tones are all very useful as background neutral tones to paint coloured designs over to coordinate with printed textiles in a garment.

[Site under construction 2020]

  1. NOTE: Add history of plant dyes – Egypt. Japanese Indigo.  English woad.

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