Natural Color Book Review

28007857An exploration and appreciation of the brilliant spectrum of colors derived from plants, with seasonal, project-based ideas for using these natural dyes to color your clothing and home.

Following the incredible success of the slow food movement, the slow fashion trend is now gaining momentum, with more and more consumers buying locally produced clothing and homewares created using sustainable methods and artisanal techniques. Natural Color explores the full spectrum of seasonal plant dyes, using nature as a color library. Unlike its competitors, Natural Color is structured by season, not plant, focusing on achievable projects with easy-to-follow recipes for dyeing everything from dresses, scarves, and hats to rugs, napkins, and table runners, ensuring that even the most savvy home decorator will be inspired.


Natural Color is an astonishingly informative and beautifully put together book. As a pysanky (Ukrainian egg) artist, and a person with health issues, I have wanted to experiment more with natural dyes. I’ve saved my onion skins, gathered hibiscus flowers, and hoarded walnuts. I’ve tried a few dyes here and there, mostly without guidance, and had some moderately pleasing results.

This book, though, made me lust. And that was with the knowledge that I’d be working on a totally different material (egg shell) rather than textile. I still have many, many questions, but mostly from my end of the art spectrum, because Duerr is quite thorough and detailed in everything from how to set up your space (sigh– if only I had the luxury of that kind of space, even without dyes! My pysanky pals, and other artists, who see where I create my art now cannot believe that I make it all happen in the fragments of scattered space I usurp in our home) to step by steps for making dye and applying to projects. Her voice is very approachable, her methods clear. Will it work on eggshell? I don’t know. Will I be able to try it? Maybe.

As I said, I still need to check out specifics for my own art (i.e. How long does the dye last? Can you do layers? Will it be impacted by the removal of the wax used to make designs? How would it respond to varnish? etc.) but dang it! I want to try! Bottom line practicality for me is this may not be the book I need in writing pysanky, but it’s a marvelous reference, for sure.


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