September has brought our community group together with a celebration of the rich Elizabethan colours that can be extracted from madder

We were lucky to have the expert guidance from our visiting tutor Jenny Oliver , she skilfully guided us through the various options. For example, adding different mordants, dipping the samples into citric acid, ammonia solutions or added sodium

We took the necessary precautions making sure that each sample , this is raw Wensleydale wool, had the correct conditions for the dye bath. As you can see we are in the lovely church environs. I don’t suppose we are the first to be bringing dye plants, wool and cloth into the church.

Thanks to the glorious Autumnal weather, we were able to take the more pungent materials outside into the churchyard

As a hands on activity, Jenny had us collecting dandelions in the church yard for a quick but effective plant dye experiment

We simply crushed the dandelion leaves flowers plus a madder leaf between a fold of muslin. The colours were immediate and effective to produce a lovely design

Another plant foraging session involved searching out an abandoned pond to collect some bulrush leaves. These we are hoping to dry in order to practise rush weaving.

We had some company on our adventure but unfortunately they were distracted by the stagnant water that surrounded the area we chose to forage in

Mucky dogs needed a prompt wash and rub down…..The shampooing and rinsing activity was enjoyed by the local stable occupants and NOT the mucky dogs!!

Here are some more dyeing efforts, thank you summer and autumn for such plentiful

and varied supplies….

golden rod

Onion skins

Mordanted raw wool

Please note we now have a stainless steel pot for dyeing the wool, thanks to a local charity shopđź‘Ť


Growing madder alongside woad plus other ideas….

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