2019 Natural Dyeing Workshop

May natural dye course

 The Natural Dye course was held in May. We were lucky to have Stephie and Susan, both very talented fibre artists, who were dyeing some hand grown cotton (Steph) and wool for knitting projects (Susan). They are both founding members of the Slow Cloth Club at 7 Sibley Street. These are some of the many talented fibre artists, who attend the Mondays and Tuesdays at 7 Sibley Street, Nimbin, doing weaving and other slow cloth activities.

Below are pictures of the wide range of colours Steph was able to dye her cotton. Stephie has homegrown the cotton, and is dyeing the bolls ready for spinning.

Coloured raw cotton

The colours are zigzagging from back left goldenrod (alum premordant), indigo, jackfruit and marigold,  myrobalan and indigo, cabbage lichen, Coreopsis– the bright yellow changed to pink afterwards with washing soda, banana fibre, then red kamala and brushbox, alum and rosewood and right front the red kamala and myrobalan (very little dye take-up).

10 colours on raw cotton
Banana fibre and cotton
Jackfruit and marigold


Jackfruit and marigold yellow

Some of the brightest yellows were obtained from a mixture of Jackfruit wood-shavings and marigolds. They have a synergistic effect on each other. Traditional dyers in SE Asia use these plus a combination of Maclura sp. roots (Cockspur), mango leaves and tumeric to make the saffron colour for the monks robes (Fraser-Lu 1988). We achieved a beautiful clear yellow from Jackfruit wood sawdust ( a 20 year old tree was cut that did not produce fruit) and yellow marigold; on silk, wool and cotton, all  premordanted with aluminium sulphate, (the cotton treated with prior brushbox leaves or myrobalan, as a tannin).

jackfruit and marigold dyepot
Shaving the jackfruit heartwood

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