For thousands of years prior to the advent of synthetic dyes, people have created vibrant colors from natural plant materials. Dyes can be extracted from roots, foliage, nuts, berries, and flowers. The dyes produced by nature have many different color pigments that can not be reproduced by synthetic dyes. The complex colors produced by natural dyes have a diversity of rich hues and shades that work in harmony with each other. Color theory will confirm that colors evoke a physiological response. The reaction to natural colors is both calming and alluring. Colors rich in brilliance, yet easy on the eye. I take pleasure in the “slow-craft” of color that connects us to nature, reminds us of tradition, craftsmanship, and respect for the environment.

I use natural dyes that are substantive, vat, and adjective dyes. Substantive dyes are natural materials rich in tannins. The tannins work as a mordant, or “fixative” to assure the permanence of a dye on fabric. Vat dyes require a fermentation process to render the dyestuff soluble and able to fix to fibers. And, adjective dyes require the addition of a mordant to fully develop and permanently fix to fibers.

Our dye materials are locally harvested from my garden, the roadside, friends, and local restaurants. If not gathered locally, they are sustainably sourced and harvested from ethical companies.

first two photos by kelle sauer