As I mentioned earlier this week, my summer reading list for 2017 focused on dyes and colorants. I have several titles on my fiber shelf that deal with the mechanics of dyeing fiber and fabric, particularly with natural items such as roots, flowers, and the like. A few years ago I had the opportunity to take a class on natural dyeing at Arbutus Folk School (located in the Pacific Northwest). The class included a trip to the local farmers market, where we purchased or found items we could dye our silk scarves with, and some foraging for items along the trail to and from the market. I chose to dye my scarves with the bark of the Pacific madrone tree (Arbutus menziesii) for three reasons: 1, it was readily accessible around the base of multiple madrones along the path since the trees naturally shed their bark; 2, because it is one of my favorite trees; and 3, because it is the tree the folk school was named after and a perfect memento of the day.
This year my studies are less on the “how to” facets of dyes and dyeing and more on the history of the science of dye stuffs and the cultural uses of them. If you’d like to learn more about these aspects of dyeing, here’s the list I’ve worked from. You may, of course, have already spotted the titles on my reading list page – I just thought it would be nice to make it a little more convenient for you to create a list for your next library trip or Kindle splurge. Enjoy!
The Modern Natural Dyer – Vejar
Indigo: In Search of the Color that Seduced the World – McKinley
Colors: the Story of Dyes and Pigments – Delamare
Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World – Garfield
A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire – Greenfield
Fifty Animals That Changed the Course of History – Chaline
The Rarest Blue: The Remarkable Story of an Ancient Color Lost to History and Rediscovered – Sterman
A Red Like No Other: How Cochineal Colored the World – Padilla