“You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth” - Thích Nhất Hạnh
Over the past six months I've been sharing my studies in natural dyeing over on Instagram and I've just realised I haven't shared much about my process over here. So I thought I might share a little bit about my natural dyeing adventures and where this beautiful slow art is taking me next.
The natural dyeing process is slow and simple, gather your plant matter then add to a large designated stainless steel pot, cover with water and bring to the boil, then simmer for about an hour or so. Remove the plant materials and add in pre soaked yarn and fabrics. Simmer until desired colour is achieved. Leave to cool (overnight is best) and then check out the results. This of course is a very simplified version of natural dyeing but one I use most often. There are many, many books you can read about the specifics, different techniques and using mordants and I’ll list a few at the bottom of the post. For me though, once I had worked out the very basics, I felt like I had the world at my feet, quite literally. Before beginning I was so intimidated by the whole process, worrying I would make a mistake and being too caught up in the finished colour rather than enjoying journey. When I let all those preconceived ideas go, magic started to happen.
Little by little my collection of colours grew. Throughout this season I’ve been particularly drawn to capturing the colours of the local landscape. Desert reds, river gum greens, and sunset yellows have inspired me to take my yarns and gently work them into a series of tactile stories, wall hangings that tell the tales of this ancient land. I’m looking forward to creating a series of these pieces and also working on a collection of silk scarves for Wilde Asher.
I called my experiments in natural dyeing a study, because I wanted to allow myself the opportunity to try things without having an agenda or an end result in mind. In doing so, I’ve realised for the first time ever in my vocation as a creative practitioner, I’ve given my soul the chance to just play, to revel in the process, to unravel and let the magic and stories of Mother Earth nurture my artistic journey. And this process has been truly life changing.
Much Love & Light