Ok- so "foraging" might be a stretch. BUT if you live in a cold climate in the Winter months like I do, then you know that outdoor foraging isn't exactly an easy task.
Here in the Hudson Valley the trees are bare, the days are dark, and there is always a chance of frost and snow this time of the year. So- flower foraging outside isn't exactly an option. BUT this doesn't mean that you can't still create using natural elements. Here are a few of my "go tos" when I still want to play with nature even in the dead of winter- and some ideas for stocking up so you are ready to dye!
Check with your local florist. Florists still carry tons of beautiful blooms even in the cold winter months, many that are great for dyeing or bundle dyeing with. Flowers like Roses, Blackberry Scabiosa, Yarrow, Eucalyptus, and many more, all come from other parts of the world and will usually be available by the stem. This is a great time to experiment with random varieties as well. So go treat yourself to a little self care bouquet. Pick out flowers that would be great for dyeing with when your are done enjoying their beauty. Don't forget to use that leftover Valentine's bouquet as well. Leftover flower bouquets are tons of fun to play around with and see what kinds of color they make. If you won't get to creating with them before they will rot, tie them up and hang them upside down in a cool dark place for a week or so depending on humidity.
2. Super Market Flowers/Food Waste.
This is also another great option for when you want to experiment with botanical dyeing. Just keep in mind that sometimes those bouquets have flowers in them that have been artificially dyed and that will transfer to your project. Also consider being the crazy person (me) who collects all of the onion skins from the bottom of the onion bin at the store. Onions are a really fabulous source of natural dye and will leave various colors from green, to yellow, gold and brown depending on how you pretreated your item. If you like pomegranates (which are in season this time of the year) they are great source of color and tannin, which makes for a great natural dye.
3. Shop Online. There are a lot of great botanical dyers and dye resources available online that have beautifully dried and ready to use natural dyestuff available for purchase. The options will vary based on their availability but the quality is as good as it gets for natural dyestuff. Check out Botanical Colors , Two Looms, themazi, The Woolery and so many others. Now is a great time to read up, stock up, and check out their selection of books as well.
4. Garden Centers. Garden centers still have tons of indoor house plants this time of the year- check out what they have. I like to buy house plants that have big unusual leaves that I can make prints with, or try something new and tropical. Either way, house plants are great way to get inspired and start thinking Spring. While you are there start looking at seeds and consider growing something you are more interested in. Or start planning your Spring/Summer Dye garden. (More on that in my next post).
5. Get outside and see what you can find. I have a beautiful birch tree in my front yard that we planted a few years ago now. Birch bark and the leaves (when in season) are a great source of color for natural dyers. While you should NEVER peel the bark from a living tree, fallen bark is fair game. Birch grows incredibly fast and sheds tons of its bark as it does, so I will pick up the fallen pieces and save them until I have a batch big enough to dye with.
Ok! So you have done your winter "foraging" and are ready to make a project.
Now what? Well Part 2 of this entry is coming up next...
How to treat your fabric (Part 2/3) I will tell you what you need need to do to get your fabric or paper ready to dye.
If you enjoyed this post, or would like to know more, please leave me a comment and I will respond as soon as possible. Thanks for reading along!