An introduction to dyeing with plants

Natural fabric dyeing with plants

 
fabric-dyeing-with-plants-natural-dyeing-cornwall

I was lucky enough to take part in a workshop in natural dyeing with tutor Irene Griffin at Falmouth University. As a designer and a garden lover I was really interested to learn about how I can make colour from foraging or picking things in the garden.

For the workshop we focused on two types plants across four different natural fabrics and using 4 different combinations of “assistors” and “mordants”. A mordant is a chemical (naturally occurring in this case) which sets the dye into the fabrics.

The two plants we used were Weld and Madder, mixing them with a combination of either Alum and Tin with one of the following Cream of Tartar, Acetic Acid and Oxalic Acid. We then dipped a portion of each fabric into an afterbath of Iron to see how that would “sadden” the colours.

The range of colours we achieved was really vast and it was particularly interesting to see how the colours were so different across the different fabric types. The silk and the wool really soaked up the colour while the linen and the cotton was much softer.

I am feeling truly inspired by the day and I can’t wait to have a go myself at home. I’m particularly interested in trying out the silks and wools but trying to think about what sort of product I could create with them. If you have any ideas do let me know!

Thanks again to Falmouth University, Future Focus and Irene Griffin for a wonderful day!

 
Lisa Claire Stewart