Last September, I took a workshop at the Marshfield School of Weaving on dyeing with plants gathered from garden, field and forest. I headed up to Vermont right after quitting my job in publishing and could feel myself sliding into a different way of being. It seems significant that, through this workshop, I learned that an exquisite palette of colors has been sitting right under my nose for years. Plants that are often taken for weeds in cities can be sources of rich pigment, most of which were a staple part of existence in New England until chemical dyes were invented. How quickly knowledge is lost. It makes the Middle Ages after the glory of Rome a lot more understandable.
Natural color takes to wool beautifully, and generally with little more than a pot of boiling water and a good pair of clippers to chop up the harvested plant material. Some plants are…
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