Fabrics colored with natural dyes have a beauty and subtlety all of their own. Onion and avocado skins, chamomile and birch bark, and nettles and acorns can produce lovely, ethereal colors and effects. The Wild Dyer demystifies this ecoconscious art, focusing on foraging and growing dying materials; repurposing kitchen trimmings; making and using long-lasting dyes; and creating stitched projects. Workspace setup, equipment, and fabric choices and care are all discussed. Beautiful photographs and easy-to-follow instructions illustrate how to make fifteen exquisite household items, from a drawstring bag to a gardener's smock and a reversible patchwork blanket. The Wild Dyer is a complete guide for both beginners and experienced artists seeking to expand their knowledge of this increasingly popular craft.
Booth, cofounder of the design studio Forest + Found, expounds on the benefits of using naturally dyed fabric in this easy-to-follow and richly illustrated how-to. Using natural dyes, she writes, encourages "a wonderful relationship with the outdoors." Some dyes originate from ordinary items onions, avocados, and bark while other materials are more unusual, such as the herbs weld, woad, and madder. Booth describes how, in her yard, she plants seeds to produce plants with desirable colors, and also forages, in summer and autumn, among trees and berry-producing plants, looking for acorns, oak galls, blackberries and elderberries, rose hips, nettles, dock, and bracken. In the kitchen, she repurposes skins and peelings in dye vats, and fashions dyed cloth into projects, from simple coasters to patchwork cushions. Along the way, readers will encounter a recipe for oak gall ink and a list of dye plants. Booth's advice isn't all horticultural; she also lists the tools of her trade stainless steel pots, wooden spoons, safety gloves, and a source of heat in a ventilated space. Booth's scrupulousness takes the mystery out of the cloth-dyeing process and leaves crafters with a well-appointed resource to an appealing new pursuit.