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GENERAL DYE INFORMATION

There are many, many excellent books, guides, videos, workshops and tutorials available on natural dyeing. The most basic, and an excellent guide both for those with experience and those new to natural dyeing is "Wild Colour" by Jenny Dean.

Over the years we have developed some specific techniques that work for us. Here are some of our own strategies:

  • scouring and mordanting are very important and not to be missed

  • tannins greatly increase the uptake of dyestuffs on linen in particular

  • we no longer bring dyestuffs to a boil. Instead, our general method is to bring the pot of dyestuffs almost to a simmer (when the water is "smiling"), hold for an hour, then let sit overnight (or most of the day). Then we bring it almost to a simmer again and let it sit for another hour. Then we strain off the dye stuffs and use the water to dye. We have found this method to be gentlest on dye stuffs and to get the most out of them. 

  • when dyeing we follow this same method. Don't boil your fibres. Bring them up to near boiling and then hold the temperature (or turn the heat off and just let it sit). Repeat if you wish.s

  • when you have limited amounts of dye stuffs, bundle dying or eco-printing (bundle dyeing but using a blanket to block the dyes from bleeding through the layers) are an excellent way to get the most colour out of what you have.

We wish you all the best in your dyeing journey. This art practice caught us by surprise drawing us into its magic. We hope it does the same for you. We welcome photos of your experiments.

piles of dried flowers on large piece of bark
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