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 beautiful quality wools, silks and cottons I can find and I am continually seeking to source ethical fibres and sustainable products to expand the range of textiles I use.

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

Dyes are extracted from Eucalyptus in a hot bath over time, giving a wide range of colours depending on species.

Lichens require time and attention in order 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.