The Wild Dyery: Eco-conscious and mystical natural dyesFrancesca Palange
Prior to the Industrial Revolution all clothes were coloured using only plant dyes; but in the last 150 years all this dye-craft heritage has been lost in favour of synthetic and polluting textile production methods. Worried about this situation and committed to a renaissance of pre-industrial processes is how The Wild Dyery was born, an enterprise specialising in natural colour and dye fabric using only sustainable, environmentally friendly plant dyes.
According to Justine Aldersey-Williams, the initiator of The Wild Dyery, cloth coloured with plant dyes absorbs not only beautiful colour but also healing properties. Our ancestors understood this important connection between humans and nature and The Wild Dyery hopes to play it’s part in reviving that tradition.
Their current obsession is indigo – ‘mystic blue’ a colour corresponding to the 6th chakra in yoga – the inner eye. It’s a naturally calming colour, used by our ancestors to enhance intuition and much valued for its colour-fastness and protective antiseptic properties.
Want to have a look at their beautiful designs? We’ve chosen a couple for you to be introduced to their eco friendly world.
This soft, organic cotton newborn baby vest and hat set have been lovingly hand dyed using natural turmeric stain in North West England. Turmeric is a traditional clothing colourant used amongst spiritual gurus in Asia. It is not a permanent dye as its gradual fade is considered part of the charm and for some is a reminder of the impermanence of life.
A ne-maki shibori resist pattern has been used creating a sunburst design. Once faded, this item can be revived at home by simmering in turmeric and the pattern created by puckering the fabric in the centre of each circle before tying with elastic bands.
No synthetic dyes or pre-treatments have been used so you can rest assured that your baby has only the finest natural cloth and colours next to their skin.
Indigo is the only natural source of blue dye in the world and was used exclusively for thousands of years until the discovery of synthetic alternatives during the Industrial Revolution. Our ancestors understood the wisdom of living in harmony with nature and environmentally conscious designers and crafters are now demanding sustainable alternatives. Not only can you revive, upcycle or create your own textiles but you can also contribute towards the renaissance of the ancient craft of natural fabric dyeing.
With this kit you can dye your own mystical blue textiles using a range of shibori tie-dye techniques included in the instruction booklet. This is an organic dye vat which with care can be maintained for many months. It can easily dye up to 2kgs of fabric/yarn.
The natural indigo is grown by a fair trade co-operative in India and offers a sustainable option for those wishing to colour cloth whilst protecting the environment and supporting local communities.
Please see the kit contents in the link provided.
Read our interview with Justine featured in the Autumn Issue 2017.
The latest issue of the print magazine packed with interviews and features on eco and heritage artists and artisans is available now.
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