This week I actually began a few dyeing experiments with botanicals.
I don't plan to go into a lot of the details here -- I highly recommend you buy India's book yourself if you're interested -- but I will say a few things about the differences between "eco" or "botanical" dyeing and "natural" dyeing, which I also experimented with at length a few years ago.
These are what I see as the biggest differences between "eco" dyeing and "natural" dyeing ~
- natural dyeing relies on a few specific plant materials -- typically logwood, fustic, brazilwood, madder, cochineal (bugs), indigo, weld, and I know there are others. With eco dyeing, you can use virtually any botanical stuff that isn't poisonous -- leaves, bark, acorns, berries, fruit, vegetables, anything.
- the mordants you use with natural dyeing are typically metallic salts, which are toxic. With eco dyeing, you can derive the same mordant results with any number of things that are NOT toxic -- including fireplace ash, seawater, packaged soy milk, plant materials high in tannic acid, lemon juice...the list goes on, or even metal dye pots (aluminum, copper, brass, stainless steel, iron) or small pieces of metal.
- natural dyeing with the typical dyestuffs requires that they be purchased from elsewhere, and much if not most of it is imported from afar. I'm not sure whether any of these materials are endangered, but being that brazilwood comes from Brazil, I can only imagine rainforests being cut down to get dyestuffs. One of the beauties of eco dyeing is the intention to use materials that are at hand or easily gettable.
Have a great weekend!