dye | look

Dyeing with Australian Natives

October 1, 2017

It is school holidays here. There is not much time for making so instead, I thought I would share with you some treats that came my way on Instagram recently about natural dyeing with Australian natives.

Firstly, I wanted everyone to know about the extraordinarily valuable resource that Sally Blake has developed with the Australian National Botantic Gardens called the Eucalyptus Dye Database.

Assisted by the Australia Council for the Arts, Sally has recorded the dye colours achieved on wool, silk and linen, using no mordant, alum, copper and iron. These fabric samples are presented in grid form and represent 230 eucalypts. You can read about her method and browse the database on her website sallyblake.com.

Secondly, like many other folks, I have an ongoing fascination with natural blue dye. I  am sure you know about woad and indigo, but you msy not know that in Australia, we have our own indigenous source of blue in Indigofera australis, Austalian native indigo. This shrub is local to much of southern Australia and looks so modest and unassuming, you would never expect such miraculous colour to be hidden inside. Recently @ourlittlepieceofearth achieved some wonderful results with foraged foliage.

If you are keen to have a go yourself,  @ourlittlepieceofearth recommends master-dyer, Robyn Heywood’s instructions in the Turkey Red journal.

I hope you are as excited as I am by these Australian colours.