Dyeing silk with Natural Dyes

The Convulvulus in blue

This dress was dyed with purple cabbage while the yellow belt is dyed with onion peels.

Dyeing silk with Natural Dyes

I am back to dyeing cloth this week.

There’s something in this process that brings back childhood memories of mud pies, grass and rose petal soups. As if making princess dresses weren’t enough.

I can’t describe the feeling, work and play mix into one as I brew the potion-like concoctions necessary for extracting the color from the plant.

I have been exploring these techniques since the beginning of my career, and indeed since even before, dabbling with my mother’s experiments in our country kitchen.

The surprise and learning curve in natural pigments is everlasting, and thrilling. Even my most tried out and faithful coloring ingredients, line the mundane golden onion peels and the purple cabbages, never stop thrilling me with unexpected variations of their pigmentation.

Feeling like a mysterious sorceress, I mix my boiling cauldron, humming happy songs as makeshift spells of good fortune and a few hours later, I am happily admiring the result. Soft green hues of sage-green from Black-eyed-susans, bright golden yellow from onions, dusty gray-blues from purple cabbage and that minty green I once stole from a pot of artichokes. The warm antique ivory of tea.

As I fill my arms with the swaths of brightly colored silk, I can’t help but think that this is very close to magic.

You can see some examples of naturally dyed dresses I have available at the moment with the Rudbekia (Black-eyed-susans, cabbage and artichockes) and the Allium (Onion peels).

Ps: Over the next few posts I’ll share some of my favorite recipes and tips for natural dyes, so… start saving up your onion peels!

Cabbage

This is the moment when you add the baking soda so the salty cabbage soup… sooo much bubbling in blues and purples starts happening.

The pots on the burner

Purple cabbage + lemon on the left, purple cabbage + baking soda on the right

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