My biggest passion as a natural dyer is to empower others.
If you'd like to learn how to dye with plants, I promise you can do it. Anyone can!
Botanical Colour at your Fingertips
My easy-to-follow book Botanical Colour at your Fingertips gives you an approachable yet thorough introduction to natural dyeing.
I'll show you how you can extract dye from just about any plant from the garden, wild or kitchen to create long lasting colours on a range of plant fabrics and yarn.
Focused on cellulose fibres, such as cotton and linen, this book will guide you through the ancient process of soya milk mordanting to achieve rich and colourfast results.
Find out which fibres are best for dyeing (and why) and which plants make the best dyes (and why). The whys are important, as they are the key to achieving reliable and long lasting colours.
As a vegan, I don't use any animal materials, so my book focuses on plant fibres. However, if you'd like to dye wool or silk then you will still learn some fantastic processes and insights from my book. My methods are flexible, so take what you need from my book and adapt it to suit you.
If you already dye with plants, you might be intrigued to hear that I don't use alum as a mordant. Metallic salts like alum are popular amongst other dyers, but I choose to use soya milk (soy milk) as a binder. I like the freedom of using 100% plant based, kitchen cupboard ingredients.
Tannins are another important ingredient in my dyeing process. Many plants contain tannins and these are naturally occurring mordants and help create long lasting colours. You can actually dye with tannin rich plants on their own with no other mordant or binder, although using soya milk will help you achieve deeper shades.
Some of my favourite tannin rich plants are avocado skins and stones (for pink and peach), pomegranate skins (for yellow), tea (brown), alder cones (golden caramel shades) and nettles (greys and deep earthy greens). This is just the beginning; on my Instagram page, you'll see that I try a variety of new local plants every season. And you can, too. Botanical dyeing is an incredible way to get closer to nature.
Use the plants at YOUR fingertips
My book will give you the confidence to choose your own plants for dyeing. We are literally surrounded by plants with colour potential and once you begin, you'll be forever pondering over the dye potential of every plant you come across.
Experimentation is at the heart of my own creative practice and it's through creative play that we discover new things. There is no right or wrong. It's all part of our process: your own creative experience.
*Portraits of Rebecca by Siobhan Watts