We have a developing passion for dyeing with natural dyes, and plan to use this section of the website to record our adventures in dyeing.
Our view on natural dyes is to use what is available to us locally. I’m not against the use of commercial dyes at all, and in fact use them ourselves. If used responsibly, and all of the dye used up in exhaust dyeing, then they are great. But there is something very appealing about being able to obtain a range of colours from natural materials, and particularly those we can gather or grow for free.
You can buy processed natural dyes, such as woad and madder, but for me that takes away the point. And you have to be careful too, in an effort to go all natural you could be using a product that is being stripped from endangered areas or the chemical process is extreme - and then why not use the chemical dyes in the first place.
To our way of thinking the ideal is to use something native and available to you - either to gather, grow or is a waste product from your kitchen.
Most of the natural dyes produce colours in the greeny browny beige range, with some exceptions, the most notable being woad, giving blue, and some bright yellows can be obtained from various sources. The colours do seem to mostly go well together and the muted tones are pleasing to the eye.
Click on a tab for details on each natural dye.