Nature's Colorways: Conjuring the Chemistry and Culture of Natural Dyes
Wander through the sources, colors, and stories of natural dyes worldwide...
...from the soil beneath your feet to the petals of common flowers to a few new tricks from the extraordinary indigo plant.
The pursuit of color is so important that it has been a skilled profession for millennia, from printing and batik in northern India to iron/tannin processes known as mud dye in Africa and Asia to the carefully documented recipes used in early industrial London. This book explores the rich cultural traditions of natural colors from around the world and introduces new ways to explore natural dyeing for yourself.
Set aside the complicated or smelly chemistry of the indigo vat and explore a simple way of coaxing color from fresh leaves. Learn safe methods to find the elusive colors hidden in lichen, a wonderfully odd composite organism. Get out a hammer and smash some plants onto fabric to make intricate plant prints. Save some rusty metal and create a bold design when you combine it with tannins. Get out a seed catalogue and start planning a world-class dyer’s garden, or toss some onion skins, tea bags, and pickling alum in a saucepan and dye loops for a potholder to use proudly.
Much of what we hear about dyeing comes to us through received wisdom or hearsay. This collection invites you to question everything you know about natural dyes, from what a mordant is to what’s possible with indigo to how to get the colors you’ve dreamed of onto your cloth. Join us on a journey around the color wheel and beyond.
Table of Contents:
The Crutchley Archive: A Dyer’s Legacy by Anita Quye, Dominique Cardon, and Jenny Balfour Paul
The Simple Magic of Fresh Indigo by John Marshall
Botanical Printing: Art Adventures with Plant Pigments by Wendy Feldberg
Let Us Not Dye Alone: Creating a Dye Garden by Donna Brown
Exploring Lichens for Dyes: An Easy and Ethical Approach by Alissa Allen
Mordants: Myths and Facts by Catharine Ellis
Tannin and Iron by Kenya Miles
Delicious Darkness: Mud Dyes from Africa and Asia by Keith Recker
Keeping Traditions Alive: Mabel Burnside Myers and Navajo Dyeing by Linda Ligon
Bringing Back Tradition with Shakil’s Batik by Satish Reddy
Ajrakh Artist Sufiyan Khatri by Mary Anne Wise
Kitchen Confidential: Dyeing Potholder Loops with Common Foods by Linda Ligon
Specifications: 112-page book, paperback with flaps, 8.5” x 10” Publisher: Long Thread Media, 2021