Dye Slow, Dye Happy

Thanks to Nicole Asselin, over on a too-fleeting stay from Brooklyn, we had a brilliant day on Saturday.  Nicole, Charlotte Head from Cordwainers, and I ran a natural dye workshop in the garden.  We did three techniques – bundling, folding/tying and rust and tea – and everyone produced something beautiful.  The hollyhocks and madder were the stars but co-stars were dock, coreposis, weld and other flowers we picked from the garden.

A tour of the garden to look at all the common plants that can be used for dyeing.

Leaves, stems and flowers are placed on the silk and then bundled up.

Leaves, stems and flowers are placed on the silk and then bundled up.
Hollyhock flowers and weld tops are placed on the silk and then wrapped round a stick.
Hollyhock flowers and weld tops are placed on the silk and then wrapped round a stick.
Hollyhock flowers and dyer's chamomile.
Hollyhock flowers and marigolds.
Using flowers and leaves from the garden we tied them in silk wrapped round sticks and then steamed.
Using flowers and leaves from the garden we tied them in silk wrapped round sticks and then steamed.
The bundles are steamed for about 20 minutes.
The bundles are steamed for about 20 minutes.
Wrapping the silk tightly with string means the colours are more defined. Looser and you get a kind of water colour effect.
By folding the silk and securing with pegs, card or wood you can create lovely patterns.   These were dyed in madder.
By folding the silk and securing with pegs, card or wood you can create lovely patterns. These were dyed in madder.
Bundle-dyed hollyhock and tie-dyed madder.
Bundle-dyed hollyhock and tie-dyed madder.
Dyed with hollyhock flowers and tied.
Dyed with hollyhock flowers and tied.

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