At the begining of 2022, I started the Maiwa School of Textiles "The Natural Dye Workshop". This online course, which was broken into ten modules with one released per week, seemed like an amazing though challenging opportunity to learn more about plant dyeing. Having started on my plant-using journey when I trained as a medical herbalist like my great grandfather, it seemed like the natural companion to other courses I'd taken over the years with, for example, Jules of Woollenflower and Flora of Plants & Colour.
One of the most important things that the course emphasises is to keep good records. Yes, please! I think it's the researcher in me but I do love a well organised journal. So, firstly I decided to keep a separate record of my undyed yarn and fabric samples.
Undyed woven fabrics
Next, came the scouring, mordanting, dyeing, modifying, exhaust usage (the dyes not me), and indigo dipping. I also learnt to work with both protein and cellulose fibres in the form of yarns and woven textiles. And, it was all so enjoyable!
The end result has been a greatly expanded knowledge of plant dyeing and an amazing colourful collection of textiles. Also, with my researcher hat on and after seeing Jules make something similar, I've installed a lightfastness board on my workroom wall to see how quickly or not some of the colours fade, with control samples added to another journal.
And as you should never stop learning, I'm about to start a second Maiwa course called "Print and Paint with Natural Dyes". Wish me luck!