Botanical Inks is a natural dye studio based in Bristol, founded by botanical artist/designer Babs Behan.
Offering small-scale natural dyeing services for designers and businesses, and a platform for re-skilling creative communities with local plant knowledge and contemporary traditional "low-impact" surface application techniques.
We teach people to forage for local colour-producing plants and use a variety of dye and print processes, without the use of any toxic synthetic chemicals or heavy metals. Prioritising the use of local, organic, ethically sourced and manufactured materials, such as dyes from local organic farm and food waste, locally grown and manufactured wool, organic British peace silk, recycled British paper and vintage or second-hand garments and textiles.
As part of a sustainable creative practice, inspired by “closed loop” design principles and the “Fibershed” model.
Who we are:
Botanical Inks is produced by Botanical + Mineral Artist/ Designer, Babs Behan.
Botanical Inks offers human-scale natural dye services and tuition, to encourage a return to plant based design practices in the UK, across multiple creative industries and communities, as part of a non-toxic, clean and renewable, sustainable design system.
By using regenerative, biological materials, which are safe to use and put back into the earth after their use, we offer an alternative to the toxic petrochemical, and highly processed, art and design mediums and practices which have otherwise become the norm.
Values: We bring awareness to the journey of the things we create and bring into our lives. Moving away from consumerist culture, towards a slower, more appreciative and respectful way of being on the earth. Living with Nature and within its means.
Techniques: We offer natural dyeing services and tuition in various techniques, including natural dye plant foraging and dye extraction, the art of natural dyeing, block-printing and silk-screen printing with natural dye inks, Shibori tie-dying, organic indigo vat dyeing and bundle-dyeing techniques.
Our sessions are informative, communal, relaxed and enjoyable. Providing the opportunity to get creative with these ecological mediums & leave with your own hand printed silk scarf, or other beautiful craftwork. A full list of our up-coming workshops are available here.
Materials: Our products and processes are developed without the use of any toxic synthetic materials or heavy metals, for the wellbeing of our environment and ourselves, setting us apart from many other natural dye artisans.
Prioritising the use of local, organic, ethically sourced and manufactured materials, we use locally foraged wild plants, organic garden produce and recycled food & farm waste, for making dyes and inks. Food-grade starches, oils and egg are used to make printing mediums, and reclaimed objects for Shibori tie-dying. Our wool is sourced from the Mendips in North Somerset, while our peace silk comes from an organic mulberry orchard in Hertfordshire.
Nature Connection: By joining our foraging walks, you gain the opportunity to spend time in natural spaces, in a way which allows you to reconnect to the plant life. This simple activity can have a profound effect on one’s well being. Simply walking and being in natural spaces calms the mind and allows the body to sink back into more natural rhythms. We also use this time to develop eco-literacy, so that you can start reading the landscape in a new way, and recognise the different qualities and characteristics of the plants which surround us.
The shorter, inner-city and town classes, tend to have more of a practical and informative approach. While we like to bring more mindfulness to our lengthier experiences. We give time to arrive and settle, meet each other and be here. We hold space for open discussion around plant-health, permaculture, organic horticulture, sustainable textiles as well as time for creativity. During our rural experience, we take more time to re-connect with ourselves and the Land.