Dyeplants for Textile Crafters
26th March 2021
I am passionate about the value of working with cloth and yarn dyed from plants you have grown yourself. Yesterday I gave a talk to the Norwich City Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.
As follow up, here are some pointers for supplies and books I promised to share online.
The Fibreshed movement started in California but is growing rapidly, such is the hunger to heal the damage caused by our textile consumption patterns and return to simpler, kinder and lower carbon production. See the fibreshed website for more details.
The classic reference is the book:
Fibreshed: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economy by Rebecca Burgess with Courtney White. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2019
UK regional projects exist.
The newest is the South East (including London). Find them on instagram @southeastenglandfibreshed
North West England was founded in 2021 by Justine Aldersey-Williams
South West England is the longest established.
I feel certain it won’t be long before every region has a fibreshed network.
Update 27/3/21: Yarn producer, Jenn Monahan is very keen to hear from anyone interested in setting up an East of England Fibreshed. Jenn is based in Norfolk and you can contact her through her website Fibreworkshop.
Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times (1996) by Elizabeth Wayland Barber
The Story of Colour in Textiles (2013) by Susan Kay-Williams (this is an excellent historical overview of dyes in history, including the contribution to the development of the science of chemistry)
Madder Red – A history of luxury and trade (2000) by Robert Chenciner published by Curzon Caucasus World ISBN 0 7007 1259 3
If you can’t find this book in a library, you might like to read our blog post about it
The remarkable 4thC BCE garments of the Ukok Princess of the Pazyryk culture of Siberia are documented here
Saffron has been used for over 3,500 years and is produced by Norfolk Saffron near Burnham Market.
Ian Howard’s Woad Farming project
The website still remains http://www.thewoadcentre.co.uk/
His self-published book, Woad: Field to Fashion by Ian Howard is available on etsy and e-bay and is a great resource for ‘would- be’ woad farmers.
If you use facebook and would like to create your own powdered indigo we recommend the group entitled “Indigo Pigment Extraction Methods” hosted by Brittany Boles.
Other great facebook groups are: Indigo Dye and IndiGrowingBlue, Natural Textile Dyeing
RHS provide useful advice on growlights The brand we have is Spider-Farmer
Stockli produce good dehydrators for herbs which work well for drying flowers for storage. We recommend one with temperature control and extra trays. UKjuicers seem to offer plenty of choice. Ours has provided years of good service, so it has been a good investment.
If we cannot provide what you are looking for we also highly recommend Bailiwick Blue on Guernesy.
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