Proud mum Flora with Freddie and Felicity born on the 11th of April. They’re doing well amongst the blossom and sunshine.
Heather is not the strongest of dye stuffs but is was very traditional in Scotland for tweeds and tartans, giving warm golden yellows.
Happy New Year
This picture was taken on New Year’s Eve from the bottom of the garden, where I was pollarding willows. The very wet Autumn has filled the aquifers and this ancient braid of the Thames has come to greet us and the New Year.
Ivy (Hedera helix) berries are ready at this time of year and produce a range of slightly odd variable colours but I like to gather a few to play with to see how they come out. They contain saponins which are poisonous if eaten and can be irritating if handled a lot. However they are an intriguing addition to the dye pot and still deserve some research.
Halter training Annie… It’s too cold for harvesting madder so Annie and I go for a walk to the pumphouse.
In the spirit of chasing lines of enquiring long considered, a few experiments with Madder are taking place at The Outside. Firstly to get an idea of the range of colours which can be produced from a change in pH. Many different shades of red, orange and pink can be produced, all different but all recognisably Madder.
We also hope to soon test other parts of the Madder plant, such as the berries, for their dyeing properties.
Festivals run by Tolhurst Organic are always very convenient for us, as we can open our shop without even leaving the garden! It’s lovely to invite people in to our workshop space.
In addition to our naturally dyed products, we had Winniepegs tie-dye and a small jumble pile, which were also both very popular. Beautiful autumnal weather meant that the event was very popular, with over 2000 people on the day.
Being offered a pitch at Boomtown Fair, a major music festival was a new adventure and we weren’t entirely sure what to expect. We were sharing a pitch and a fire with Hempen, our neighbours at home and now our neighbours in Whistlers Green.
Firstly, we discovered a awful lot of mud! The rain had made the tracks a quagmire and many vehicles were being towed out by tractor. There wasn’t much we could do to set up before the first day of the festival as the water levels were too high, and paddling around in standing water would have disturbed the ground and made it more difficult later.
After a dry 24 hours and lorryloads of chippings, the site had improved just in time for the start of the festival.
Whistlers green, the area we were in, was chilled out with various crafts and relaxation activities available. We were right next to the windmill stage and got to see several artists (including morning aerobics) each day which was great.
Despite the rainy start, it was an exciting and interesting event which we are glad to have experienced.