Saturday in January in Vermont meant that the mountains were full of skiers and the roads were full of traffic as I headed north early this morning to take in Day 2 of the Art & Science of Natural Dyeing with Jane Woodhouse at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. I mailed some packages at the very quaint, very tiny Post Office and then popped into the classroom in time to catch everyone at the start of draining and rinsing our dyed skeins from yesterday.
It was the liveliest day full of color and of the wonder of natural dyes. To think that Jane taught us to derive 64 colors from 5 different natural dye materials: Madder root, Weld leaves and stems, Marigold petals, Cochineal beetles & Indigo.
From lightest blue to deepest plum, cherry, reds, mahogany, oranges, golds, yellows, greens, purples and blue, I learned to respect the ratios and formulas of using the natural dye concentrates. We were all in the happiest moods from our handmade rainbows. The discussion and appreciation of using natural materials was central to the theme. A caring group with a mind on making positive differences, a worthy day.
And fifteen new natural dye friends.
I was so happy to get home to the barn tonight. Here on the farm while I was away, Iris held off delivering a lamb or two. Thank you, Iris. The minidonkeys were left in the paddock with the alpacas and Cotswolds which mixed things up a bit. As far as I could tell, Kalinka & Silver had a super day. The sheep might’ve been a bit unnerved. The alpacas had an opportunity to discover the donkeys up close and personal and I think it was good for them. Better acquainted, everyone is quieter in their stalls tonight.
If you would like to learn more about Jane Woodhouse’s class, “The Art & Science of Natural Dyeing”, send Jane an email at email@example.com or visit her blog here to read up on mordanting and indigo dyeing. Jane has been published in Spin-Off magazine, teaches workshops at various Sheep & Wool Festivals, and holds classes throughout the year.
Enjoy the beautiful process and results of the world of natural dyes in the following photos.