I'll demonstrate the process and begin mordanting some of the wool you'll be dyeing (preparing them to accept the dye) . You will harvest natural dyes from my small holding; blackberry, birch leaves or dandelions for example, depending what's in season. There'll be some silk scarves already mordanted and dyestuff soaking which we can use: eg. daffodills or apple leaves. We may also use natural dyes from my collection; eg. madder root or fustic wood chips. Then you'll dye a silk scarf or some wool (either unspun fleece or spun wool from my collection) which you can then take home with you. You can use resist techniques to create some pattern. I have chemical (aluminium sulphate and ferrous sulphate) and vegetable mordants (rhubarb leaves) available. Dyestuffs and vegetable mordants will vary according to the season. Daffodills are only available in the Spring!
I have been fascinated by natural dyeing for many years after gaining a Batchelors degree in textile design nearly 40 years ago. I have been teaching natural dyeing for the last 4 years. It's an exciting process and the colours you can achieve with natural materials are well worth the effort. I have a range of materials we can use for dyeing growing on my smallholding: eg. daffodils, blackberry leaves, rhubarb etc. as well as some imported dyestuffs: eg. madder and fustic wood chips.
Tea, coffee, herb tea cold drinks and biscuits available
All dyeing equipment and materials will be provided.
Well gather dyestuffs from around the smallholding, about 4 miles from Totnes. You will be dyeing wool and/or silk over portable gas stoves and/or wood fires. We'll be under cover in the polytunnel if the weather is wet or windy.
A notebook and pencil, a few plastic bags. A picnic lunch.
We will be working outdoors at least part of the time. Please do come dressed appropriately for the weather and wear stout shoes. Wear clothes that you won't mind getting muddy or splashed with dye
Introduction to natural dyeing