Natural Dyes & Botanical Printing

Botanical Harvest
Gathering from the forest floor and gardens, ethical collection* and growing leaves that yield colour and dye in a sustainable way is an important part of the process.
Natural dyeing and botanical printing create a record of time and place – leaves and lichen are collected ethically and prepared for their part in the particular project to achieve a range of colours, tones, and prints.
*Ethical collection requires strict adherence to the forager’s code: be fully informed about the species being harvested, take only what you need, never more than a third of the botanical matter available, always use a knife to prevent damage, wherever possible – grow your own.
Materials Preparation

I use the most sustainable, ethical and beautiful quality wools, silks, hemps, linens and cottons I can find. I continually seek to expand the range of textiles and clothing I can offer with confidence to people who prefer to make ethical, Earth friendly choices in fashion and homewares.

Each type of textile requires pre-treatment to ensure a colourfast result. Leaves and other botanical materials can also be pre-treated with elements like copper and iron, to change the colours and tones that will be given to the cloth.

Dyes are extracted from local botanical materials with heat. I also purchase ingredients I cannot access locally from accredited sources with demonstrated provenance, giving a wide range of colours depending on species and season.

Lichens can be fermented over extended periods to extract dyes, this is time well spent as the lustre and softness of tones creates a depth within the weave and sheen of the cloth that is truly mesmerising. Given time, the softest rose pinks develop into vibrant hot fuchsia and the subtle ochre yellows and oranges become strong, glowing like a sunset.

Botanical Alchemy

The pre-treatment of textiles and botanical materials comes together in the dye pots, vats, and steamers over heat. Textiles are dyed in pots and vats for single colours, tie and fold techniques and for over-printing later. Textiles prepared for botanical printing have the materials laid over them and are bundled tightly before heat is applied to obtain clear prints and diverse colours. Over-printing can provide depth and extra design elements.
The plant-based dyes and prints contain no harmful colour agents and are able to be reintroduced into the soil. This process is not only sustainable but gives back to the planet.