Pinks & Purples from Lichen, Wood and Woad

At different times of the year there are certain visual motifs in nature that I get obsessed with trying to represent in coloured wool. In winter, the silhouettes of bare trees against the milky light of the sky; in spring, the bright yellow of daffodils; in autumn the oranges and golds of the leaves. This…

Wild and Garden Growth

Having a good-sized garden of my own for the first time has been something of an adventure. In the seven to eight months since we moved in, I have been in turns delighted, excited, terrified, bewildered and frustrated by the responsibility and opportunity of this patch of land we call our garden. There is the…

Autumnal Inspiration

I’m not long back from a week with my family down in Whitstable, Kent. Down in south east England the berries are just starting to ripen and the leaves to turn and fall, but despite these hints of autumn the days are still warm and dry. Up north in Scotland, it has been autumn for a while…

On Scottish Lichen Dyeing

I love dyeing with lichen because there’s plenty of the stuff available here in Scotland, you don’t need to mordant, you get colours other than lemony yellow, and it leaves a beautiful earthy smell on the dyed wool. So far I have dabbled a bit with the ‘boiling water method’, getting lovely autumnal shades from a…

Weeds of Late Summer

Summer doesn’t last long in Scotland, and even by the end of July you start to sense the hints of autumn’s arrival. It was this time of year that I first visited Scotland, and I was struck by the contract between here and the south east of England, where it very much high summer. I was…

Dyeing with Queen Anne’s Lace

One of my first attempts at dyeing with plant matter I had foraged (as opposed to bought or smiled sweetly at my veg box delivery man for) was the leaves of wild carrot, or Queen Anne’s Lace, back in March. I remembered Julia saying that plants of the carrot family yield dye, so when I…

Dyeing with Hawthorn

We are lucky enough to have a hawthorn tree growing in our front garden. Indeed, it was one of the reasons we decided to rent this house. Our wee tree, from which we hang feeders for the birds, is resplendent in blossom at the moment. Hawthorn blossom is also known as May blossom, and is…