Winter Dye Inspiration


If you want to find a way to connect with nature and the seasons, the search for wild colour is a very rewarding one. As a child (and sometimes I confess as an adult!) I would rather stick by the fireside with a cuppa than get outside into nature. To avoid the avoidance, I suggest giving yourself a purpose - and foraging and search for colour and plants in your surrounding area can be surprisingly satisfying. It gets me out of the studio and I have to say I always return refreshed, and with arms full of (responsibly) foraged plant matter.

The Woodland Trust has some great advice on foraging (for UK) here, but you may wish to make your own enquiries wherever you live.

Beloved of bees and butterflies in the summer, this non-native plant, growing profusely along railway sidings and in the tiniest of cracks in your garden wall - Buddleia packs a rather surprising botanical dye punch even in winter.


Experimental dyeing on pre-mordanted silk ribbons in the winter has yielded some rather beautiful results.

After creating an immersion bath (think steeping tea bags, but use buddliea seeds/seed pods instead), I went on to try some bundle dyeing, again using pre-treated silks.

NB: Health & Safety - always use separate non-reactive bowls and utensils for your plant dyeing. Work in a clean well-venitlated space, and keep dye baths away from children and animals. We also advise to wear gloves and other protective equipment in case of allergic reactions.



Buddleia seeds are tiny (only mm in length), encased in a sturdy seedpod to protect them.  Imported by Victorian plant hunters to the UK, this non-native plant produces a profusion of pink to purple flowers on pendulous heads during summer months, and a rather less appealing mass of brown seed heads in winter.


Buddleia Plant Dyed Silk Ribbons


The top silk ribbon in the image above shows the results of the immersion dyeing - a beautiful golden cream colour, one I am sure that brides and florists might rather desire!


The ribbon at the bottom was bundle dyed using seeds (and seed casings - they were just too difficult to remove), on pre-treated super wide silk ribbons.  I love the energy in these, like an explosion of nature dotted across the ribbon.