Babydoll Southdown Sheep in the Earthsong Orchard Farm Barnyard

Natural Dyes

 A Brief History of Dyeing

Dyeing comes to us with a 6,000 year history of experimentation and refinement. All fiber dyes were made of natural materials until 1856, and ancient writers record that there were at one time nearly a thousand different known sources of dyestuff. Commercial exchange of dye products was an important part of the early world economy.

It wasn't until an accidental discovery in 1856 yielded mauveine, that the chemical dye industry began. By 1900 a synthesized indigo was in production. The natural dye markets became a thing of the past, and commercial dyeing turned to synthesized chemicals, with natural dyeing becoming a tradition maintained by only a few.

Much of the pleasure in natural dyeing comes from the exploration of your own neighborhood; finding fiber colors in plants nearby is a pleasure that expands your appreciation of the life around you. It is difficult, however, to find reds and blues in common North American plants. The exotic dyestuffs offered here can expand your world of fiber color.


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