Interest in the local fiber and natural dyeing movement continues to grow, and for gardener and dyer Deepa Natarajan and nurserywoman and illustrator Helen Krayenhoff, it’s been an especially bountiful season. In addition to starting plants from seed, growing them in their East Bay gardens, and harvesting, storing, and dyeing with fresh and dry material, the two have found time to create a new handbook on growing and using dye plants.
Aimed at both novices and those with more experience, this simple guide includes helpful tips for starting dye plants from seed and growing them in your garden, as well as recipes for creating beautiful colors for fiber. Natarajan and Krayenhoff hope to inspire the gardener who has never tried natural dyeing and the dyer who has never grown their own dye plants. Among the ten plants covered in the guide are familiar garden favorites like artichoke (Cynara scolymus) and marigold (Tagetes erecta), as well as lesser known plants like Navajo tea (Thelesperma filifolium) and Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucida). Book events scheduled this spring include a demonstration and book sale at Berkeley Horticultural Nursery on Saturday April 1 (berkeleyhort.com/events).