Monday, October 10, 2016
Natural Color Is Amazing
As someone who loves working with fiber via spinning and knitting, I was really excited to get my hands on a copy of Sasha Duerr's Natural Color. What an invaluable resource for anyone who loves natural products, color, and care of the environment!
Duerr provides readers with a great introduction to the world of natural dying. The book is structured around the seasons, which makes sense since the plants used to make the dye come into their prime at different times throughout the growing season. I find it interesting also that natural dye colors will vary depending on the specific soil and climate so that different regions and areas will have different color pallets.
I learned several things from reading this book. I really had very little sense of just how many natural plant sources provide such an array of color! I did not realize that one could, in several cases, alter the color outcome of the dye pot by adding different ingredients into the pot. I found it amazing that there are several sources of natural color that don't need anything added to the dye pot to make them colorfast. Nature is amazing!
Along with the various plants to gather seasonally, Duerr offers readers preparation instructions for getting your fabrics and fibers ready to be dyed. In each seasonal section of the book, there are a handful of "recipes"--hands on projects with instructions for dying anything from place mats and napkins to curtains, shirts and even a hat! Duerr provides tips within the recipes and in the introduction to each section's natural dye materials as to which will work the best for dying plant based fibers (cotton, linen, etc.) versus animal fibers (wool, alpaca, silk, etc.).
As someone who plans to keep this book and reference it often for upcoming fun with natural dying of yarns for truly unique projects, the one thing I recognize I am going to need by way of additional reading material to make the best use of Natural Color, is a field guide to plants in my area. Duerr's book does not offer a lot of help in identifying the specific plants by sight if you want to go out and gather some materials. It is important to have said guide so that you can avoid any "look alike" plants which may be poisonous. (For instance, where I live there is a plant which resembles Queen Anne's Lace which can leave blisters where it comes into contact with skin.)
If you are interested in natural dying and the colors produced by nature's pallet, you will definitely want to get a copy of Natural Color. My thanks to Blogging For Books for the free copy I received in exchange for this honest review.
From the Publisher . . .
A beautiful book of seasonal projects for using the brilliant spectrum of colors derived from plants to naturally dye your clothing and home textiles.
Organized by season, Natural Color is a beautifully photographed guide to the full range of plant dyes available, drawn from commonly found fruits, flowers, trees, and herbs, with accompanying projects. Using sustainable methods and artisanal techniques, designer, artist, and professor Sasha Duerr details achievable ways to apply these limitless color possibilties to your home and wardrobe. Whether you are new to dyeing or more practiced, Duerr’s clear and simple ingredients lists, step-by-step instructions, and detailed breakouts on techniques such as shibori, dip-dye, and block printing will ensure beautiful results. With recipes to dye everything from dresses and sweaters to rugs and napkins, Natural Color will inspire fashion enthusiasts, home decorators, textile lovers, and everyone else who wants to bring more color into their life.
About the Author . . .
SASHA DUERR is an artist, designer, and advocate for the slow fashion movement who works with organic dyes, alternative fibers, and the creative reuse of materials. She is a professor at the California College of the Arts with a joint appointment in textiles and fine arts. Her work has been shown in galleries and museums across the United States and abroad. In 2007 Duerr founded the Permacouture Institute with the Trust for Conservation Innovation to encourage the exploration of fashion and textiles from the ground up. Her extensive work with plant-based dyes and ecological principles through local land-based sources and community has been featured in the New York Times, American Craft Magazine, Selvedge, and the Huffington Post. She is the author of The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes.