The research for my current MA in Academic Practice began in 2015 as I developed scrolls to creatively display natural dye experiments. I transposed prior knowledge of screen printing with synthetic dyes into natural dye patterns onto textiles.
Two meters long they explore concentrations and combinations of natural dye colour. Four fabric variations test and record the dyes on cotton, silk, wool, and viscose. Colour was made from Wild Colours extracts, and fabric was pre-mordanted.
Re-visiting the scrolls prompts new inquiry:
Fabric choice; should it be local, dead-stock, organic or recycled?
Mordants; which ones and when to use? Does pre-mordanting fabric make dyes more colour-fast than adding mordant to inks. Is this less sustainable?
Dyes; extracts, locally grown, foraged, or bio-waste? Are they readily available and colour-fast?
Dissemination of knowledge; who is benefiting and how? Could collaborations and Communities of practice be useful?
Should the potential for change in printed natural dye colours be celebrated or glossed over? The original scrolls attempted to replicate the longevity and predictability of synthetic dye colours. Do I shift stance and play with the ephemeral and metamorphosing colours of natural dyes; making designs that acknowledge and harness their capricious beauty?