The wonderful power of plants to colour our clothes
In an era where we want less chemicals in our lives its time to rediscover natural dyes rather than relying on synthetic dyes from the pharmaceutical industry.
A few years ago I attended two one-day courses in plant dyeing to get a basic understanding of procedures after which I was inspired to collect plants from vergesalong walks (using guide book), including woad and comfrey from my own garden, and start dyeing backgrounds ready for silk painted panels in my bespoke garment making.
The thrill of collecting wild plants and producing colours on fabric is very satisfying and sometimes surprising as unexpected outcomes are learned. Foraged dyestuff gives wondrous golds, beige and cream: all very useful as background neutral tones to over paint with commercial silk dyes.
Some basic guidelines for dyeing silk bring quick results.