Mulberry Dyers

After a talk on the Saturday we had a handson workshop on Sunday.  All natural dyes.
See below for article and more pictures

At the March meeting we were greeted with a fabulous display of tools, yarns and dyestuffs from the Mulberry Dyer. After a break for lunch Debbie the Mulberry Dyer started her talk dressed in full medieval costume. She explained how she first became interested in Natural Dyeing when her boys were young and joined a group of Re-enactors, where she needed a job, and chose to become a Litster.

As the talk continued Debbie explained about her costume, and slowly started to remove some of it as she was getting hot under all those layers. I was quite taken with the idea of a Lyripipe and the way it could be wrapped around to help hold your hood up, and the detachable sleeves. It was also clear that Debbie and her husband John had a great rapport, and as the talk progressed they took us on a fabulous historical journey, explaining about dyes, mordants, towns licenced for different colours, the apprenticeship of a dyer and the Dyer’s Guild.

All in all it was a very interesting talk, and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

On the following day a keen group of us returned to Furley Hall for a Natural Dye Workshop with the Mulberry Dyers Debbie and John.

Debbie started by explaining a little about the Extract Dyes we would be using and how they could be used for different types of dyeing on all types of fibres.

We then went on to look at mordants and the best way to mordant your fibres and fabrics.

We then split into 9 groups and started to mix the different coloured dyes we were going to be using, and then we all set about dyeing 9 samples in each colour, being careful not to contaminate the dyes.

We set the dyes in the microwave.

Finally Debbie and John let us experiment by intermixing colours to make different colours, and let us dye the different mini skeins of silk, linen and ribbon. Some of the group also went on to paint the dyes on fabric aswell. Debbie also mixed a blue and green dye for us to try! It was quite surprising the strength of colours achieved with the Natural Dye Extracts, and the ease of use too.

It was a very interesting day and enjoyed by all of us who took part. Hopefully at future meetings those of us that bought natural dye extracts and mordant to play with at home will be able to show the results of what they have been doing!