I’m just going to geek out completely for a minute and tell you about my favourite Christmas present. I’d been eyeing up this book, Wild Colour by Jenny Dean, for a while; it was being reprinted at the time when I wanted to buy it, which, although I had to practise patience for a while, meant that a) the book looks really gorgeous and b) it came out exactly at the right time for it to be a Christmas present!
Now I really really love colour – the brighter, the better. However, I’ve also become aware that the textile industry is not exactly friendly to the environment or to the humans working in it, so I’ve started to feel a bit guilty about buying so many bright fabrics. This book makes me so excited about the possibilities of actually making my own colours, and not ruining the environment in the process!
I’ve actually been thinking about dyeing with plants for a while and that has led to scenes like these in my house, as I gather materials:
Now that I have the book though, I am so excited about the possibilities. You can get colour from far more things than I thought! Who knew, for example, that an apple tree was quite so colourful?
Or what about the humble daffodil? I’ve got some in a vase right now that I might convert into dyestuff when they’ve done flowering!
I’m super-excited about all the colours I might be able to make. I’m going to order some unbleached cotton and get simmering!
Here is Jenny Dean’s website. Susan Dye (what’s in a name!) also has a great blog called Nature’s Rainbow. Here’s an article about Abigail Booth, who has also written a book with great projects called The Wild Dyer.
If you are thinking about doing some dyeing yourself, do inform yourself about health and safety matters. Some plants and chemicals can be irritants or even toxic, so never use food preparation equipment for dyeing and be careful about any plant materials collected from the wild.
Excuse me while I go back to enjoying my book …