Growing and using colour from plants was the subject of three dye workshops run by Diane Sullock, a Greenhouses lead volunteer.

The Workshops were held at Carmelita Centre where Vauxhall Farm Spinners and dyers meet, in an example of partnership working.
Our Golden rods (Solidago) from the dye garden were harvested this fall and the leaves were used to make natural dyes.

Here we have the Golden rod leaves collected by Krupa and Diane from the Greenhouses dye bed in November, two handfuls were enough for a dye bath, the compost heaps loss was our gain.

They gave a bright yellowish green colour, its hues varying on different fabrics. We tried dyeing silk with a tie and dye Indian bandhani print which gave a warm shade more towards yellow.

While golden rod dyeing on wool gave a more greenish tinge.

Cotton gave a rather pale yellow shade.

These fabrics were further treated with two dyes – myrtle berries and Log wood chips obtained from Campeachy tree which grows in Jamaica. Our silk scarf dyed (pre-dyed with golden rod leaves) took on a olive greenish colour with the myrtle berries, while the cotton took a pale purple shade with log wood.

We also tried some plant hammering or Hapa Zome as it is called in Japan. It is a natural pigmenting process where the flower petals or leaves are crushed into fabric with a hammer. The hammering releases the pigment naturally, allowing for beautiful colours on the fabric. Some examples of the workshop held at Brockwell gardens is shared in the pictures.

Olivia Page and Mili joined us for similar plant hammering workshops at Vauxhall farm spinners and dyers space.

Diane plans to hold plant dye workshops at the Green Houses in June 2018.