Discovering Botanical Dyeing

A few months ago while I was browsing Instagram, I discovered Kathryn Davey's beautiful profile, She creates plant-dyed Irish linen textiles and shares her knowledge, teaching workshops in cities like Dublin, London and many others. I have to admit that before discovering her profile I didn't know anything about botanical dyeing, but when I saw her work, I felt instantly curious and wanted to learn more. I enrolled in one of her introduction to Natural Dye Workshops as soon as I could! 

The workshop took place in her lovely studio in Harolds Cross, in a space she shares with other Irish artists. It has been recently repurposed, becoming a very charming building, full of natural light where it’s impossible no to feel inspired and creative. 

I got there just before 10am, had a bit of a chat and a cup of tea with the other participants until Kathryn called us in to tell us the plan for the day. The workshop takes about 4 hours, there was loads to learn and no time to waste, so manos a la obra! (Lest get to work!)

The natural ingredients we were going to be working with were; Tea bags, turmeric and avocado on fabrics like silk, linen cotton and a lovely mix of silk and linen, one of my favourite ones because of its texture. All the fabrics Kathryn works with are locally sourced which makes her work even more special and unique.

The workshop covers all basic aspects, from the initial treatment and conditioning of the textiles, the preparation of the dyes as well the use of modifiers. This may sound a bit complicated, but it really isn't! 

            

    

Time went by very quickly and it was super exciting seeing our dyed swatches of fabric! During the process Kathryn gives you loads of tips and info, she really shares her knowledge from her many years of experience.
After experimenting with different wait-times and textiles, we collected our samples in a little notebook provided by Kathryn. She made sure we kept record of the process so we’re able to replicate the results at home. 
This is the net bag we dyed, I did mine in pink, I love it! 

Now the challenge is to begin my own experimentation at home! My plan is to start dyeing the recycled cotton cord I use for my macramé projects, as it's not possible to find this type of cord in other colours apart from white and natural beige, I think it's going to be great to give my pieces a super special touch. I can't wait to get started. Watch this space! 

Besos, Paola