Why We Dye

Posted By RWitchey on April 20, 2012

A presentation by the Redwood Guild of Fiber Arts on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at the
Luther Burbank Art & Garden Center, 2050 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa. The program begins at 10:00 AM.

As a natural dye study group, a loosely organized bunch of us have met for almost 3 years. In the beginning, we just wanted to see what happened when we used locally sourced plant material to dye our yarns and fiber. We found agreement about methods we like, for instance, using only potassium aluminum sulfate and cream of tartar for the “mordants” – the mineral salts which lead dye into fiber so the color will stay there – because they are safe for us and for the environment. Martha Cant returned from the 2010 Convergence in New Mexico to share with us a method of sampling which we can use to predict what color we will achieve; we now have fat notebooks for reference. Pooling our talents has increased our knowledge.

For our presentation we’ll provide background information about the widespread importance of natural dyes in history, a description of how we go about what we do and why, the sample notebooks, a collection of books which have helped us, some tools, some stories, and lots of fabulously dyed wool yarn.