I’ve always been fascinated by natural dyeing as I love the idea of extracting colour from roots, berries, barks, leaves and wood. Lately I’ve seen a whole host of designers using natural dyes in their work. The potential of materials like saffron, pomegranate, woad and of course, the wonderful indigo-giving indigofera, are being rediscovered and used in contemporary ways.
A couple of projects that have caught my eye are Kirstie Van Noort’s Color Collision, which sees ceramics dyed with red cabbage and then soaked in various liquids with different pH levels. The result is beautiful, surprising, and one-of-a-kind pieces steeped in colour. Merel Karhof also works with natural dye recipes and has created a wind powered knitting machine to weave scarves from her rainbow of yarns.
Meanwhile, Elodie Gobin’s Botanic Color Collection is an ongoing research project, exploring organic dyes and natural colour processes, using waste fruit and vegetables rejected by the food industry. Her most recent collection employs pigments extracted exclusively from beetroot and red cabbage and was used to dye the handles on a set of cutlery. Gobin’s colours are dependent on the seasonal availability of her sources, and she hopes that by adopting 100% natural dyes, people could become reconnected with this cycle.