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Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes Paperback – November 16, 2010
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About the Author
JENNY DEAN has worked with natural dyes for more than 30 years. She is the author of several books and numerous articles on natural dyeing, and also conducts lectures, workshops, and courses on the subject. A collection of her dyed samples is included in the collection of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage in Brussels, Belgium.
KAREN DIADICK CASSELMAN has taught dyeing techniques throughout the U.S. and internationally. Her dyed pieces are included in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution and other museums.
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It has a good list of natural dye sources along with color swatches that show the colors achieves using the plant alone, plant plus mordant, plant alone plus modifier, and mordant, plant, and modifier. Very very useful
It has a very clear introduction to dying that covers techniques and steps in the dyeing process (it even has a small section on using urine to dye with indigo and woad). Pretty thorough for for a relatively small book.
The illustrations are well done and in full color.
Organization - the key for the plant sections is located on page 20, which is 2 sections away from the plant section. It's located in a small sidebar that is easily overlooked. Why couldn't the sidebar be located in the chapter it's actually related to?
I was expecting more of an emphasis on plants native to North America. From the title I expected it to be a book of dyes that *I* could collect from the wild. WHile there are several that grow wild either as native plants or as imports, that is not at all the focus. THe focus is on natural dyes, and the plants listed are largely cultivated species grown in various locations in the world, not wild plants you can find in your backyard.
This is a good book, you will not go wrong in buying it as an introduction to natural dyeing. The organizational quibble can be overcome (remember, key to the plant section is on page 20). Once you've read through this book and practiced you should be well equipped to begin experimenting with plants that do grow wild in your own yard!
When I originally paged though the book, I did not notice how detailed the descriptions of dye plants were (I got sucked into the gorgeous colors). I thought I would have to buy another book (I was thinking I'd also need A Dyer's Garden, which is out-of-print and somewhat hard to find), but I think this will do for now. It includes instructions on using various parts of many plants and preparing the dye and mordant.