Dye workshop

Posted by Zoe Fletcher on Sunday, July 11, 2010
Through researching on the internet I came across an amazing lady who uses her allotment space to grow dye plants, she has also been growing a crop of flax (after a long time trying to find seeds and getting them to germinate!), a cotton plant in her conservatory, along with amazing vegetables and silk worms in her kitchen! I do not know how she finds the time to tend to her allotment, design a huge array of beautiful craft pieces, run a number of websites and tend to her silk worms!

The allotment has transformed a lot of peoples lives in Birmingham - it started half empty, and now has a waiting list! Teresinha grows onions, madder, woad, flax, lavender, an amazing array of plants with magical properties (to name a few!) - she was so patient with us and talked us through what certain plants could be used for before setting us to work digging up some madder roots to replenish the stock we would use this afternoon (she even very kindly gave Beth and I a root each to take home to see if we could grow some ourselves...only time will tell!)

So we set to work digging up the roots...


 We then washed them and cut into small chunks!

We then had a lovely look around the rest of the plots (with a few stops along the way to admire the beautifully made scarecrows - one Scarecrow Smith - has his own facebook page!), before heading to the Custard Factory where Teresinha has her studio.

I learnt so much valuable knowledge for being involved in a practical workshop like this and it was amazing to see the wool change from natural beige to bright vibrant oranges before my eyes - 

 After such an amazing day I came out with four beautiful shades of orangey red tones, a brain full of new information and appreciation of natural dyes and the powerful colours we can get from them and a happy smile from spending the day with the lovely Beth and making a new friend!


Zoe Grace Fletcher Currently undertaking a PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University within the MIRIAD post-graduate department, I am beginning a practice based academic journey into British wool fibres and new technologies within knitwear design. Graduating with Distinction from a Masters in Fashion and the Environment at London College of Fashion, specialising in hand-knitting and the British Wool Industry, I have worked on a number of knitwear collections (personal and external companies), whilst freelancing and researching for a number of exciting projects. My work revolves around the idea of sustainable fashion from a knitted perspective and the different ways to achieve this incorporating the ideas of slow fashion into mainstream society. I love knitting. And wool. And double sided sticky tape.
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