Natural dyes

All of our silk dyes are 100% natural. We use a variety of flowers, leaves, bark, roots of plants as well as insects such as the cochineal and loc. Even the famous Ethiopian coffee provides a dye on silk that is warm and inviting.

One of the dyes we use is from the mescal flower- the national flower of Ethiopia- which only blooms in September.  We also dye with cochineal- an insect living on cactus plants. Large quantities of cochineal are now being produced in Ethiopia, and give us a variety of shades of purples, pinks, reds, tangerines and grey.

Those dyes we cannot source locally are purchased from a reliable company that produces 100% natural dyes. For more information about their dyes, please contact Maiwa, www.maiwa.com

Cutch is the heartwood of a small thorny tree called Acacia, and is used in natural dyeing to get shades of brown. Usually the heartwood chips are boiled in water until they turn into a thick mass and then the thick mass hardens into a solid brown mass. The fruit is used to dye the different shades of brown. The tree grows in tropical regions.

Ivy is a hardy, vigorous climber or creeper and is used to dye different shades of gray and greeny-yellow. It is the leaves and the berries that are used.

Dyeing with onion skin you get different shades of orange, rust and brown.

The flowers of this thistle-like plant have been used to dye different shades of yellow, pink and red. It is the flower itself that is used.

It is the heartwood of the Brazilwood tree which is used. The color produced are  different shades of red, plum and pink.

Henna is a shrub that grows in very hot, dry regions. It is used to dye different shades of rust and brown, but also red.

Madder is used to dye different shades of red, beige and brown. The roots are used to dye the reds and the plant tops are used to dye the beiges and the browns.

African marigold:
African marigold is a bedding plant and is used to dye different shades of greeny-yellow, gold, orange, tan and olive-green. The plant tops and the flowers are used as dye.

Logwood is a big tree, which is used to dye dark shades of purple, blue and most importantly black, a color that is difficult to achieve. To dye with logwood the heartwood is used, either in form of wood chips or powder.

Pomegranate is an attractive, small tree with green leaves and scarlet flowers. It is used to dye ocher shades. To dye with pomegranate either the whole fruit or its skin is used.

The indigo plant occurs all over the world in various forms and is used to dye different shades of blue. The plant requires hot, sunny and humid climate and the part used for dying are the leaves. Indigo is the most successful dye plant ever known, because of its variety of shades and of its appearance in various forms.

Meskel flower:
The Meskel flower is a local kind of daisy and is used to dye different shades of yellow. The flower is the national flower of Ethiopia. To dye with meskel flowers only the flowers are used.

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