Planting my dye garden

At woolfest in 2015 I bought three dye plants ,  Madder, Ladies Bedstraw and Rubekia from Fiery Felts.
Here there are with all my other woolfest goodies.


At the time I had nowhere to plant them so they stayed in their pots at my daughters.  When I returned to the UK late 2015 and I looked for a spot in my garden where I could make a dye garden .  I found a place which was nice and sheltered with a house wall at the back. The  big snag was it was totally overtaken by vinca.  This is a most dreadful invasive plant in my opinion , I have no idea why I ever planted it in the first place.

So for the first few months of 2016 I attempted to kill the Vinca by covering it with some old carpets.  I then dug it all out,  well I tried hard to dig it all out.   I think I should have really left the whole area covered in the carpet for 12 months before I used the bed, but I am far too impatient for that , so I will have the risk that the vinca comes back.

Three months further on , it’s looking good , the original three plants have settled in their new Home, alongside some Coreopsis, which is about to flower and some annual French marigolds and cosmos and some broad beans plants just for fun.

I have already harvested some marigold flowers.








It’s going to be a long time before I can harvest any madder roots but I feel it’s a good beginning.

Worldwide colours of felt

I am delighted that a piece of mine will be appearing in Worldwide colours of felt which is due for publication in June by Textiellink.  I am even more delighted that the piece that was chosen was dyed with madder. There are pictures of felt works from over 500 artists from 40 countries in the book. With this good news it seems an ideal opportunity to look back at how my piece was made.

First I laid out white merino on a resist.

Then used more resists to add wings and I also added cords.


The finished vessel was difficult to dry and so I slung it in the garden used a foam roller, an old broom handle and lots of gaffer tape along with skewers to curls the cords.




Here it is straight out of the dye pot .  I had to tied it up , to make it fit and this also had the benefit of giving a shibori effect.

A close up shows this effect to some extent.

mar 13-14 madder shell vesel detail

The final piece as will be seen in Worldwide colours of felt in June.


mar 13-13madder shell vessel

Don’t forget to order a copy of the book !