Natural Dyes for Herbalists
September 25, 2009
The California School of Herbal Studies, has been in existence since 1978, and was founded by Rosemary Gladstar. The school was built on 80 acres, set in the aptly named, Emerald Valley, in Sonoma County. Not far from the coast, settled amongst doug fir, redwood, and bay forest- the valley opens into the school’s half acre garden, that hosts over 400 species of medicinal plants.
The class was amazing- as always, the school attracts some of the most inspirational, intelligent, and thoughtful students. My brother Michael partook in the class as well- a talented professional photographer who kindly took all of these pictures. The colors were striking- the students had patience, and the their work illuminated their ability to work with a rather elongated process. (Although a one-day dye workshop is about as expedited as it gets in the language of natural color!).
The Indigo Vat! The fermentation indigo vat yielded some pretty nice results, considering it oxidized quite a bit on the one-hour drive to the school.
The fermentation vat gathering…. the group was delicate with the solution, keeping it active and producing blues for the whole of the workshop.
The iron bath almost produces prints within one day- optimally this would be a two day process. Students pressed wormwood, salvia leaves, and maple into their cotton samples.
Toyon produced a beautiful soft orange- the color was very harmonious with the native plant colors of coyote brush, walnut and horsetail.
Horsetail created soft pinks, the silk that came from the bath looked like a luminous cross between rose petals and abalone…
The power of the sun and flowers, produces some of the strongest, and most striking colors, especially on our raw silk samples.
The coreopsis solar sample on the left- flower pounding on the right. It was beautiful to watch the students meander through the garden looking for good blossoms for the process.
Thank you to this amazing group! I wish you success and bliss, in your journey as healers, educators, farmers, travelers, mothers, fathers, and all the many permutations in between and above.