Natural Dyes in Finsbury Park Art Club – Day 1

We had a fabulous day in the inspiring and fruitful Seeds and Weeds garden of the Finsbury Park Art Club, lovingly cared for by a few but dedicated volunteers. Everyone is welcome to visit. We all had some chosen pieces to work on as we practiced some scouring and mordanting in both protein and vegetable fibres. We also explored the garden and choose different plants to work with, as well as adding some madder and cochineal extracts I brought along into the mix.
I brought some rainwater from home, and this gave me the opportunity to show the impact that the water’s Ph has in the end colour of some dyes.  Here is an example of Cochineal.

After preparing plants and extracting their dyes, and once fabrics had been mordanded, we later explored a few dyeing techniques; from basic immersion with heat, to eco-printing and some basic shibori skills. We also prepared some solar dyeing jars that were left to unveil at our second workshop in September.

We talked about light and wash-fastness, and we all be checking on our work and sharing results. There was a definite winner our of our experiments, from the flowers of a blue salvia bush…

I spent ages reading and thinking about dying before I spent that lovely day with you in Finsbury. Now I just dive in and experiment... what’s the worst thing that can happen? It’s definitely brightening up my local lockdown. It’s amazing what’s in my cupboards and locality.
Liz Tucker
Teacher, Wales