Natural Dyes for Herbalists

September 25, 2009

Michael Keefe Photo

Michael Keefe Photo

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.

Michael Keefe Photo

Michael Keefe Photo

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!).

Michael Keefe Photo
Michael Keefe Photo

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.

Michael Keefe Photo

Michael Keefe Photo

The fermentation vat gathering…. the group was delicate with the solution, keeping it active and producing blues for the whole of the workshop.

Michael Keefe Photo

Michael Keefe Photo

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.

Michael Keefe Photo

Michael Keefe Photo

Toyon produced a beautiful soft orange- the color was very harmonious with the native plant colors of coyote brush, walnut and horsetail.

Michael Keefe

Michael Keefe

Horsetail created soft pinks, the silk that came from the bath looked like a luminous cross between rose petals and abalone…

Michael Keefe Photo

Michael Keefe Photo

The power of the sun and flowers, produces some of the strongest, and most striking colors, especially on our raw silk samples.

Michael Keefe Photo

Michael Keefe Photo

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.

Michael Keefe Photo

Michael Keefe Photo

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.

2 Responses to “Natural Dyes for Herbalists”

  1. Rebecca Zollinger Says:

    Thank you for such an inspiring workshop! I really enjoyed watching the magical colors emerge from the vats. You are a very articulate and enthusiastic teacher. I wish you luck on your journey to paint the colors of the landscape onto the hearts of the people who live amongst them.

    • ecologicalartist Says:

      Thank you Rebecca,
      Your articulate and gratitude-filled response inspires me to keep going. With many things to do- I was feeling a bit on overwhelm, until I read your comment.

      Thank you much!
      Rebecca


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: