Plant Dyeing

Soon after the sun rises, beaming its glorious light and warmth across the land, if you are outside and close enough to nature to have it wrapping all around, you can catch all the earthy smells including the scent of eucalyptus wafting through the air, delighting all senses especially on a frosty and fresh spring morning in the stunning south western Australia, this is my favourite time of year to go leaf collecting.

Various types of local foliage are carefully collected. There are many plants, herbs, flowers, seeds and bark that hold natural dye for us to discover. Mostly eucalyptus, wild passion fruit vine, henna, puff balls and soapy wattle seeds are collected for the dye baths.

The collected plant matter is boiled in a large pot or a 44 Gallon drum. While the dye bath is bubbling away, the creative work begins. The garment is laid out and different types of leaves, seeds and flowers are arranged.  The garment is then rolled around old pieces of metal or folded between wooden blocks, then bound up with twine and put into the boiling dye bath. The metal works as a mordent, fixing the natural dye into the fabric. The garment then becomes nature’s alchemy.