So it’s probably rule #1 in some blog how-to somewhere that you shouldn’t send people to other sources… but I’m such a fan-girl of these folks that I really can’t help it.
I recently wrote out a list of some resources for a friend’s son who might be interested in Shibori and Natural Dyeing, and I got a bit carried away. I realized that I had all of these amazing resources now, but when I started this journey 2 years ago I didn’t have ANY idea where to begin. Now that I’ve found all of these sources of learning and inspiration, I
to share them. Maybe there’s someone out there now, overwhelmed and lost, like I was. I want to help that person. I want to help have YOU!
One of my favorite things about the Natural Dye community is that it
a is community. Because we make things slowly, with our hands, . No one “big fish” is going to swallow up all the “competition”. So, with that said, here’s a cheat sheet to get you started. If you’ve stumbled upon this list and you have something you think I missed, hit me up in the comments! I hope this helps in some small way on your textile adventures! there’s room for all of us
XO ❤ , Kate
THE ACTUAL LIST: BOOKS…
Still my favorite resource by far. Books are the best. You should read them.
This is the mother of all modern (English) Shibori books. This is the only one you need. It has everything. You’re welcome. VIBE: Textbook/Encyclopedic BEST FOR: Comprehensive VISUAL reference of different Shibori techniques COOLEST FEATURE: Color gallery in the back of the book showing textiles by Shibori masters.
Rebecca Desnos has written a truly useful reference, with well illustrated and described processes. VIBE: Textbook BEST FOR: Learning the fundamentals on plant dyes on CELLULOSE fibers. COOLEST FEATURE: Comprehensive description and recipes for the Soy/Soya mordant process on cellulose (plant) fibers
Sasha Duerr is such a cool lady. I know that maybe doesn’t seem super relevant to a review of her book, but I thought you should know. She teaches fairly often, and if you can find a class to take from her, DO IT! VIBE: DIY Projects BEST FOR: Dyes created from food waste and pantry items. COOLEST FEATURE: Sasha’s perspective on the SLOW movement, and how slow food and slow fashion intersect.
This book is a longtime favorite of Natural Dyers, and has been released several times in different editions. VIBE: Encyclopedic BEST FOR: Comprehensive visual reference of different dye-plants and their color potential. COOLEST FEATURE: Swatches for each dye-plant showing color potential, including with use of various mordants and modifiers.
Kristine owns one of the coolest shops I’ve ever had the pleasure to frequent: A Verb for Keeping Warm. It’s in Oakland California, my old stomping grounds, and I pop in whenever I’m in town. VIBE: DIY Projects BEST FOR: Learning how to prep your fibers properly, and use common natural dyes on a variety of fibers. COOLEST FEATURE: A very comprehensive and well written section of prepping your fibers. This book has the best scouring and pre-mordanting section of any book i own.
Rebecca Burgess is a total bad-ass. She is the visionary behind , an organization that develops regional and regenerative fiber systems on behalf of independent working producers. I had the opportunity to hear her speak on SLOW FASHION at Fibershed A Verb for Keeping Warm, in Oakland, this fall and was struck by her sincerity and force of purpose. This woman is building up systems that have long been replaced by the import/export economy, and making a better world for future generations. Like I said, BAD ASS. VIBE: Textbook BEST FOR: Wild harvesting dye-plants, specifically for wool. COOLEST FEATURE: Each dye-plant page has a little map showing the region that it’s native to.
I still love books, but Blogs are good too.
This is the Blog of Kathy Hattori, Founder of Botanical Colors in Seattle Washington. Botanical Colors is a SUPER cool company that supplies indie artisans *and* companies with the materials and know-how to dye textiles naturally. They do a “Feedback Friday” blog post weekly with answers to natural dye questions that have been sent in.
This is the Blog of the LOVELY Rebecca Desnos, who also authored Botanical Colour at your Fingertips, above. I particularly love that she focuses on Cellulose fibers, and plant-based dyes, so it’s an especially good source for Vegan dyers 🙂 No bugs or sheeps harmed to make her lovely colors. ❤ ❤ ❤
Jenny Dean is definitely the OG of natural dyers. She has been at it for about *40 YEARS*, and is the author of Wild Colour (listed above), a classic natural dyer’s tome that has been published internationally. She is a natural dyer, handspinner, knitter and general textile enthusiast. A comprehensive and VERY informative resource – you can’t beat decades of experience! SHOPS…
My favorite resources for dyestuff, blank textiles, and all that good stuff.
THIS PLACE IS AWESOME. They even have a 1-800 number you can call with dyeing questions. Fantastic customer support, and good prices. They are very broad, and carry both synthetic and natural dyes, yarn, PFD fabrics, and even a huge variety of pre-made clothing blanks. This is THE PLACE. Based out of San Rafael, CA.
Botanical Color specializes in natural dyes, so they are a really good specialty if you can’t find what you need at Dharma. Dharma actually carries a lot of Botanical Colors products. Based out of Washington state.
This shop has a bit more specialty stuff than even Botanical Colors. Sometimes shipping can be a bit expensive (if you are in the US) because they are based out of Canada. They are particularly good if you can’t find what you need at Dharma or Botanical Colors. Based out of Vancouver, Canada.