In mid September I attended my second natural dye workshop with Rebecca Burgess, held at Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas. It is so exciting to see the colors that the plants yield, sometimes completely unexpected, like the luscious coppery pink from horsetail (Equisetum arvense)!
Here’s the plant that produces this amazing color:
Three other native California plants that were used in the dye baths were: California coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica), Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), California sagebrush (Artemisia californica). The non-native Black walnut (Juglans nigra) produced a lovely soft brown dye, and Japanese indigo (Polygonum tinctorium) a stunning blue (see my other posts on indigo).
The plants produce different colors in each season. Examples of the difference between yarn I dyed at Rebecca’s classes in spring and fall are shown below.
I am currently soaking bark from native madrone trees (Arbutus menziesii) to make a chestnut brown dye.
I highly recommend Rebecca’s classes if you are interested in some fun hands-on learning about natural dyes. (See her website for a class schedule.) She has inspired me to continue learning more on my own so that I can use my own dyes on yarns and fabrics for my various projects. I have always loved plants and gardening, as well as textiles, so this adds yet another dimension to my love affair.
More to come after I attend my next class at the end of October!