Eco Colour Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles

Explore the fascinating and infinitely variable world of using plants to color your cloth and yarn with ecologically sustainable plant-dye methods.

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Dying with plants is a kind of boticanical alchemy, and in Eco Colour, artistic dyer and colorist India Flint teaches you how to cull and use leaves, roots, and flowers to color your cloth and yarn. From whole-dyed cloth and applied color to prints and layered dye techniques, India describes only ecologically sustainable plant-dye methods using renewable resources and takes the path of doing the least possible harm to the dyer, the end user of the object, and the environment.

Recipes include a number of entirely new processes developed by India herself, as well as guidelines for plant collection, directions for distillation of nontoxic mordants, and methodologies for applying plant dyes. Eco Colour inspires both the novice home dyer and textile professional seeking to extend their skills using India's successful methods for achieving ecologically friendly, stunning color.

Table of Contents
Part One: Before You Begin
    'Natural' dyes - a context
    Collecting Plants - a protocol
Part Two: The Workspace - Harvesting, Health, and Safety
    Equipment and a place to work
    Harvesting and storing plants for dyeing
Part Three: Natural Dyestuffs
    Some traditional dye materials
Part Four: Preparing, Processing, and Applying Dyes
    Preparing to dye
    Processing plant dyes
Part Five: Some Special Dye-Plan Groups
    Eucalyptus Dyes
    Beyond the eucalyptus
    Ice-flower dyes
    Fruits and berries
Part Six: Special Effects
    Cold-bundled eco-prints
    Non-eucalyptus eco-prints using hot bundling
    Hapa-zome -- beating colour into cloth
    Dyeing wool yarn and silver
    Multicoloured yarns
    Printing with plant dyes
    Using shibori techniques and layered dyeing
    Solar dyeing
    Mud and cow patties
Part Seven: Some Other Considerations
    The importance of water
    The importance of time
    Caring for cloth
    Disposal of wastes
Part Eight: References
    Further Reading
    About the author
About the Author
India Flint is a designer, artist, writer, and sheep farmer.  Her work has been greatly influenced by her extensive travels - from Melbourse to rural Austria to Montreal.  She is known for the development of the highly distinctive eco-print, an ecologically sustainable plant-based printing process giving brilliant color to cloth.  Flint has been working with plant dyes for more than 20 years, and she has artwork in myraid collections and museums in Australia, Latvia, and Germany.  She currently lives in South Australia.
"One of the most elegantly designed crafts books to debut this year, with a sophisticated layout and color photographs that capture well the ecological sensitivities of the artist.  Though the art of dyeing has long been associated with natural materials, South Australian first-time author (and creator of hand-made “slow” fashion) Flint maximizes the use of renewable resources while minimizing most harmful footprints.   On occasion, she goes to extremes, justifying, for instance, the use of wood to heat boiling-dye waters.  Yet there’s much valuable information on every page, in every illustration, throughout each chapter; the author’s very careful orientation to the subject, beginning with collecting plants and finishing with special effects and fabric care and feeding, educates and energizes.  Notes about history and practical applications (say, the production of indigo and the creation of natural blues through woad plants) are balanced with charts of traditional dye materials and specific details about processing, including plant oddities such as eucalyptus and St. John’s Wort, different effects from a range of techniques (for instance, hapa-zome, or beating color into cloth, as well as the familiar resist )and mordants (the stuff that fixes or makes color permanent).  Urban apartment dwellers might be a bit challenged by the philosophy and processes; and a few materials indigenous to Australia are unavailable to those on other continents.  Nonetheless, an excellent source.” - Barbara Jacobs Booklist
“If you've ever worried about the effect dyeing fabric has on the earth, Eco Colour by India Flint will teach you how to use botanical dyes to create beautiful textiles.”  -

“A beautifully presented book… if you are interested in botanical dyes, this is a definite must read.” - Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot

“Slow dyes, like slow foods, require time and effort, but can generate extraordinary results.  This book follows that same philosophy.  If you take the time to delve deeply and absorb the wealth of information offered, you will find instruction and inspiration in abundance.” – Surface Design Journal

“This book is a significant and inspirational addition to the literature on natural dyeing and one which must be read by anyone interested in the topic.” -  Pam Borchardt, member of the Natural Dye Group, Plant Craft Cottage

SKU: 10FA01

Author/Speaker/Editor: India Flint

Format: Hardcover

ISBN 13: 9781596683303

Number Of Pages: 240

Customer Reviews

A Must Have! Lush, Beautiful, Practical Knowledge! Review by Marie Johansen

My friend had a copy of this book and it intrigued me enough that I had to order a copy for myself. It's a visually beautiful book - from the "hand friendly' feel of the cover to the pages that are designed as eye candy. India Flint's techniques are easy and unique.The book is replete with the information you need about a variety of plants and mordants. All of the information that you need to get started are right there in the pages of the book. Since India Flint is Australian the the plants described are indigenous to that area - but many are easy to find in North America as well. The techniques described will work with any plant matter and the magic is in the trying and experimenting. I have managed to get some truly stunning results by following (and tweaking) the recipes. The real magic is in experimentation and when experimenting provides such delight it's well worth while! This book is an excellent addition to the library for any natural dye fan - or for any textile surface designer or admirer. I'm so happy that I splurged and bought this book!

(Posted on 11/5/11)