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  Elisabeth Beverley

   plant dyed wool for handknitting

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plant dyeing

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I dye using simple traditional methods and local and wild garden plants - leaves, flowers, nuts and twigs. The colours from freshly picked plants capture the moment and reflect the progress of the seasons. Spring begins with daffodils, the gentle shoots of dog's mercury, nettles and cow parsley and leaves of comfrey, dock and elder. By summer there are wild and garden flowers, ox eye daisies, chamomile, hollyhocks, golden rod, dahlias, ragwort, yarrow. Autumn brings walnuts, toadstools and berries and the year ends with ivy, winter twigs and bark.

 

In general the natural colours produced by native plants are the earth colours - greens, yellows, greys and browns. I also dye with indigo, madder and logwood for blues, reds and purples. The challenge and pleasure for me lie in expressing the range and subtlety possible within this spectrum. Accurate reproduction is impossible. But while there is infinite variation there is also a satisfying empathy between the many colours that can be expressed. The unpredictability inherent in the plants and the process add to the interest as well as making these colours unique.

Dahlias
Ivy berries
Dandelions Dog's Mercury Hollyhocks Daffodils Marigolds

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