Updated 11 August 2019
Way back in 2014 I dreamt of setting up a shop related to my passion for dyeing with our home grown plants. Since then, I have been busy offering workshops for groups of crafters, giving talks and writing articles. And Ashley has extensively blogged here about his experience of growing dyeplants. We have also started to sell dye plant materials and seed at selected craft events.
In June 2019, thanks to a focussed enquiry from someone asking how to design a dye garden, and with input from five enthusiastic students who tested out a pilot with us, Ashley and I decided it was time to offer workshops here in Hitchin.
Our first workshop on how to plan and plant a dye garden has proved very popular, with people glad to get some hands on experience of a working dye garden to help design their own growing spaces. Everyone goes home with some seeds, seedlings and young plants to put the ideas into practice as soon as possible. There is one more course of the year coming up in October, followed by more throughout 2020 (dates to follow).
We are also offering dyeing days working with freshly harvested Woad and Japanese Indigo.
The Woad workshop in July was a great success and the Japanese Indigo workshop on 21 September is fully booked (but we are happy to take names for a waiting list in case anyone drops out). We will run more of these workshops next year on dates according to when the crops will be ready (June to September).
There will also be a Two day “Suburban Dyecraft Retreat” at the end of November 2019.
Finally, we are preparing a number of new workshops . If you would like to participate in any of our pilot workshops on these topics please get in touch. These are currently as follows:
- Introduction to Mordanting (Dates to be confirmed).
Bright colours and permanence from plant dyes depend on good preparation. We are considering separate days concentrating on mordanting for wool (and other protein fibres), mordanting for cotton (and other plant fibres) and mordanting for silk. We will include a full consideration of the health and safety aspects of the use of mordants and responsible practice.
- Getting the most from Madder (Dates to be confirmed)
Madder is a complex plant dye, capable of yielding many colours from pale pinks to oranges, browns and bright reds. The secret to success is partly in the horticulture, harvesting and storage, partly in the mordanting and partly the dye extraction and dyeing.
We would like to offer this as a two day course if there is demand.
If you have suggestions for other new workshops please don’t hesitate to be in touch.
Our dye garden is next door to a fabulous community garden project where we are hiring a well-equipped indoor space suitable for small group events, only 5 minutes walk from a mainline station well served by trains between London, Peterborough and Cambridge.
Ashley and I are very much looking forward to continuing to share our dyeing and horticulture skills with people who, like us, are enchanted by the process of obtaining beautiful colours from plants.
The courses can be booked here
All good wishes
25 July 2019
+44 1462 422814