After many months in the making, I’m thrilled to share the latest edition of Plants Are Magic magazine with you!
In this blog post I’ll show you how to dye a scarf with mahonia berries (also known as Oregon grape) with a simple tie dye stripe pattern. These are my local berries – in the early summer, the bushes are laden with hundreds of strands of these little purple jewels. Maybe you have other local berries growing abundantly. You can follow this recipe and use the berries of your choice. Berries are pH sensitive, so I’ll show you how you can adjust the colours and make multiple shades.
Since my baby boy was born in the summer, it’s been a quiet few months in terms of creativity. He is my best creation of the year, which is how it should be. There’s something about having a baby that seems to give me clarity. It doesn’t happen straight away, and the process is painful, but once I come through the darkness of utter exhaustion, I feel like a new person.Continue Reading →
It’s no secret that yarn isn’t my main passion. I’ve been captivated by cloth for many years, making clothes and also simply fabric for scarves. I love the drape of fabric and never get tired of it.
But recently I’ve been yearning to experiment with yarn more. Initially I planned to re-learn knitting; I learnt to knit as a young child, but never progressed beyond the basics. So I bought some chunky cotton yarn and some bamboo knitting needles. Things didn’t quite work out this way though, as I was tempted by Tunisian Crochet somewhere along the way…!Continue Reading →
I decided to write this blog post about how I self-published my book on natural dyeing. It’s been a real adventure of discovery and I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things I’ve learnt along the way.
It’s been a few months in the making and I’m pleased to announce that my eBook, ‘Botanical Colour at your Fingertips’ will be out on Tuesday 24th May!
Thank you for your interest and support through Instagram whilst I’ve been working on this exciting project! I really hope that you enjoy reading it.
I made another batch of avocado dipped-dyed business cards last week which I feel add a special touch to a package of plant dyed goodies.
I’m so excited to start using my new logo designed for me by Sierra Johnson of Letter Lodge!
This week I’ve been busy making new business cards and tags and stamping my new logo.
I used watercolour paper and presoaked it in soya milk and left it for a couple of weeks before using it. The dyes were very concentrated which I made by boiling off lots of liquid to leave a small amount of super concentrated colour. The purple is from mahonia berries and the pink is from avocado skin.
Dye from berries isn’t a long lasting colour and I didn’t think I’d be playing around with mahonia berries again, but I had a couple of projects in mind and was tempted to collect some berries. Where I live in south east London, they grow in gardens and also in public places.
The purple staining on my hands turned blue under the tap water. It’s amazing to see.
I extracted as much colour as I could over a 24 hour period of heating and soaking the berries. I could have probably heated the berries in fresh water to get more colour but I didn’t need anymore.
My first experiment was to dip dye some watercolour paper to make new business cards. This was a lot of fun and I love the results!
The second project was to dye a dress. I wouldn’t sell clothes dyed in mahonia berries as I don’t know how long the colour will last, even if it is stored in a dark place and washed carefully. I’ve read that berry dye may only last a couple of years, so time will tell. But I really wanted to dye a dress to wear to a wedding this summer and I won’t be wearing or washing it often and if it fades I will just redye it! I actually like the transient nature of this dye and the fact that I can keep adding layers of colour over time.
I really love the result, although the colour was a complete surprise to me!
The colour is a purple/beige with cool undertones. I was sure that I would end up with a grey/blue dress based on my experiments a few weeks ago. However, I had to dilute the dye massively, as I’d made a very concentrated colour and my dress needed quite a lot of water so it could stay submerged in liquid. As I added water into the initial concentrated dye, the colour didn’t turn from pink/purple to blue as I’d expected, but it turned purple/brown, and this is the colour that the dress dyed. But the paper that I dyed in the concentrated dye turned from purple to blue under tap water when I tested it. It’s fascinating how the pH of the dye affects the final colour outcome.
My initial experiment with mahonia berries from a few weeks ago is shown above and the dress isn’t any of the colours that I achieved a few weeks ago. (The colour samples on the left page, from top to bottom: 1. modified with iron water, 2. rinsed under tap water, 3. straight out of the dye pot, 4. dipped in vinegar),