Workshop Alert! Natural Dyeing with Belinda Evans

Words by
Sally Wilson
| December 7, 2015

Belinda Evans is a regular on The Planthunter. She’s shared stories with us about botanical tattoos, growing dye gardens, master indigo dyers, craft sessions and DIY smudge sticks. Now we’d like to tell you about what Belinda is up to, and it’s happening this month!

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Belinda Evans is perhaps better known as the woman behind Alchemy, a Melbourne-based line of one-off, handmade products – everything from soft botanical dyed linen tea towels to wild harvested Australian native smudge sticks and woven wall hangings made form local wool yarns, fleeces and hardwood. Belinda is an intuitive and considered artist and maker, as well as a pretty nimble forager. She posts about her floral finds (and plenty more) over on Instagram, and her wild, loosely composed pickings never fail to delight.

One of Belinda’s real loves is using foraged, native plant materials in her natural dyeing projects. “The natural dyeing process was really an evolution of my collecting process because I’ve always been obsessed with capturing the moment that I’m in and keeping it as long as I can,” Belinda says. “I realised that there was a possibility that I could take the essence of native plants, transfer them to textiles and make them last. I want to keep that beautiful moment.”

The variety of colours Belinda achieves from Australian natives is both astonishing and familiar, perhaps because the colours are so intimately linked to the landscape. From Australian wildflowers like the grevillea, acacia, hakea, dianella and correa to the leaves, bark, seeds and flowers of one eucalyptus tree, the palette Belinda has developed truly represents a sense of home.

This month Belinda shares her knowledge of native plants and natural dyes with a workshop at Guild of Objects in North Melbourne on Saturday, 19 December. It’s a day-long class (with a delicious, vegetarian lunch thrown in!), where Belinda will demonstrate all you need to know to practice natural dyeing at home, including how to:

  • collect and prepare native plant materials for yarn dyeing
  • use those materials to dye wool and silk textiles, and
  • prepare and mordant wool and silk textiles for natural dyeing to get the best colour from your natural dyes and help make them colourfast.

The workshop will have limited places, so that Belinda can work with students one-on-one and the most can be achieved from each dye pot.

A second workshop will be hosted in the new year at A Common Place‘s beautiful barn in Lauriston, about an hour north west of Melbourne. This session takes place on Saturday, 13 February. What a great excuse for a day in the country!

From both workshops you’ll be able to take home a collection of mini skeins of yarn that you have dyed on the day, ready to use in a weaving, knitting or crochet project. You’ll also take home a booklet with detailed notes on the preparation, mordanting and dyeing process for wool and silk yarn and fabric.

WORKSHOP INFORMATION

Workshop 1: At Guild of Objects
Saturday December 19, 2015
10am – 4pm
More info and bookings

Workshop 2:  At A Common Place
Saturday 13 February, 2016
9am-3pm

All images by Pierre Curry.

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