Bristol Cloth Crowdfunder has been incredible! We raised £7,000 in the first 5 days of the campaign, and received pledges from a global following, with backers including the likes of Orsola De Castro (Founder of Fashion Revolution), eco-chef Tom Hunt, Kathy Hattori (Founder of Botanical Colours), actress Charity Wakefield, singer Nessi Gomes, and so many of our beloved local community. The BBC featured our story in a wonderful 3 minute piece on Points West news, as did several local press including two pieces in Bristol 24/7, Bristol Post and Bristol TV. Prior to launching the campaign we were honoured to see Bristol Cloth written about in detail in the beautiful Selvedge Magazine and ever so inspiring No Serial Number Magazine.
See all full articles on Bristol Cloth Press Page.
Currently we have raised a whopping £9500 and hope that our target of £15000 can be reached by the end of the campaign on Christmas Day.
Please pledge whatever you can afford via the crowdfunder here.
We have rewards from £5-£1400 all listed on our crowdfunder for you to choose from. Alternatively you are also welcome to donate any amount you wish to. We also welcome enquiries for wholesale orders from designers and businesses.
The Bristol Cloth project showcases British heritage, preserving what this land has always offered and what British communities have done for centuries. We are set to prove that it is still commercially viable to make cloth on our shores, sustaining British tradition, culture, community, land and the economy.
Bristol Cloth is made with holistically farmed and biologically washed wool from Fernhill Farm. Naturally dyed with organic British plant dyes by Botanical Inks. And woven at the Bristol Weaving Mill, the first industrial loom to open in Bristol in 90 years.
By supporting this campaign, you can help re-create a local, resilient textile economy in the UK, offering an alternative to the unsustainable global textile production systems which have threatened traditional British cloths almost to extinction and critically damaged the health of our biosphere; Support regenerative agriculture which captures carbon from the air and locks it back into the soil whilst also replenishing soil health; Help recreate our ability to dye textiles using non-toxic plant dyes; promote biological textiles which are safe to use and put back into the earth at the end of their useful life cycle and bring artisan textile production back into our local economy.
I've just landed today in Seattle to mark the Botanical Inks Plant-To-Print Dyes, Techniques and Projects North America/Canada book publication day.
The book is now available here in local stores and online!
To celebrate I've come to spend a few weeks adventuring into the wilds of Washington, Oregon and California, to explore the landscape, get creative and meet some of the natural dye and Fibershed communities, before heading back to the UK via New York.
I'm so excited to be here!!
I'l be starting off the adventure at Botanical Colours natural dye studio in Seattle with Kathy Hattori, offering a promotional workshop and book signings, before disappearing into Oregon to hunt for natural hot springs and giant redwoods. See the full list of events below.
- 23rd August, 10-4pm: Botanical Colours, Seattle, WA. Block Printing With Natural Dyes
- 9th September, 10-1pm: UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens, Berkeley, CA. Wild Ink Making
- 15th September, 10-4pm: West County Fiber Arts, Sebastapool, Sonoma, CA. Bundle Dyeing
- 30th September, 1-4pm: Cattywampus, Ojai, CA. Bundle Dyeing
- 6th October, 3-6pm: Soho House New York. Bundle Dyeing - Members Only
Do get in touch if you would like to connect while I'm here!
Big love, Babs xx
I'm so excited to finally be able to show you the Botanical Inks book I've been working on with Quadrille Publishing. It's been a real labour of love; pouring over pages of writing, designing props and making sure it all fits together and flows well. I hope you like it..!
Warmly, Babs :) xx
Botanical Inks: Plant-To-Print Dyes, Techniques and Projects Paperback - May 31st 2018
Learn how to transform foraged wild plants, plants, garden produce and recycled food into dyes and inks with Botanical Inks. The book shows you how to extract environmentally sustainable colour from the landscape and use it to create natural dyes for textiles, clothing, paper and other materials.
Botanical Inks covers dyeing and surface application techniques, including bundle dyeing, Shibori tie-dyeing, hapazome, indigo sugar vat dyeing, wood-block printing, screen printing and more. And it also shows you how to turn your new inks, dyes and technique knowledge into wonderful projects, from a simple bundle-dyed scarf to a block-printed tote bag.
The process of turning plants into print can help you reconnect with nature, find a creative outlet and develop a mindful sense of presence. It also promotes an awareness of sustainable practices and how to reduce our impact on the planet.
Wow, what a ride the past few months have been..!
Botanical Inks has seen a bigger Summer workshop tour than ever! This year We held natural dye classes in some incredible places and met so many wonderful people.
It was a pleasure to teach at Fashion and Textiles Museum, Vervain Flowers, Plymouth College of Art, Soho Farmhouse, Selvedge Magazine, Babington House, Prema Arts, The Forge, Hawkins Brown, Textiles Hub London, Double Elephant, Thelma Hulbert Gallery and Hawkwood College. So much gratitude goes out to all of our lovely hosts for having us to visit and share the love of natural dyeing!
Bringing our artisan crafts to this group of beauties, at their woodland grotto bridal shower was a particularly magical moment.
And being invited to exhibit at the Country Homes and Interiors Magazine Summer Show and feature as their Favourite Designer Maker in their latest issue was wonderful! (see below).
I was also honoured to be featured in Simple Things magazine and a multiple page spread in Mollie Makes Magazine.
Many nice times were shared at the Botanical Inks studio in Bristol, in our more intimate workshops, focusing on screen printing with natural dyes.
You may have noticed we have gone a bit quiet on the workshop front over the past few weeks...It's because every bit of energy is now going into creating a special book project with Quadrille Books. More on this to come..!
What a wild Summer..!
It feels like an age since the Botanical Inks Summer Tour kicked off, back in May, with a series of workshops for Selvedge Magazine. The last one, exploring and de-mystifying, the alchemical art of developing blue hues from plants. Our "Organic Indigo + Shibori class", offers a clean and quick technique for creating this elusive dye colour, and presents some easy Japanese Shibori, fold and bind, resist-printing techniques.
It was a total thrill to see the unique works students made in this class.
After this, Botanical Inks had a visit from dye master, Aboubakar Fofana, at our rural workspace in North Somerset. We were fascinated to learn from him, about the traditional technique for using a fermentation vat to extract blue dye from actual indigo leaves. For ten days we balanced the dye, using natural lime as our alkaline, and sugar from wheat bran and beer, with the aid of an electric blanket for a consistently warm temperature. After only 8 days, (thanks to our magical Mendip water!), we were able to dye our first pieces of cloth into brilliant ocean blue shades. We had the task of re-balancing the dye for many weeks after Aboubakar left us, which was an incredible learning opportunity, in the complex, and yet simple, nature of intuitively reading and responding to a living dye.
On June 21st we celebrated the Solstice full moon with a land gathering and fireside chatting 'til dawn, here in Somerset. With the days being so long, the hours of dark slipped away without even noticing, before the sun rose again.
And then, off to Glastonbury! The annual convergence of so many wonderful people and endless things to do! We hardly noticed the mud with all the dancing and frolics! ;)
In July, the Botanical Inks mobile dye + print studio, was up and down the country, visiting all manner of splendid places and people. We enjoyed an incredible day at Babington House in Somerset, foraging flowers and plants from the abundant walled garden.
Buddhafields Festival invited me to join their conscious celebrations, sharing the Art of Natural Dyeing with festival goers, using locally foraged plants to colour silk ribbons for adorning floral bouquets and gifts. I enjoyed teaching classes, amongst the busy schedule of meditations, yoga, ecstatic dancing and dharma talks..!
It was fun to then to leave the rural retreat of Buddhafields and slink back into the city, to High Road House in Chiswick, where residents learned a fun new way to release tension, while making beautiful botanical imprints on cloth.
The Hapazome hammering technique, coined by India Flint, is great for quick and plentiful pattern making.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset then hosted an intimate Artist's Workshop for me, at their incredible rural art gallery in Bruton. The day started out with excellent coffee and a walk around the splendid Oudolf Field, designed by, internationally-renowned, Piet Oudolf, from the Netherlands. We marvelled at the landscaping and perennials, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, before nestling down for a day of mind nourishment and creative inspiration.
The first half of the day was spent exploring natural dyes and herbalism. We broke for lunch in the Roth Bar and Grill to indulge in an impressive array of locally sourced seasonal dishes. In the second half of the workshop, we played with organic flowers and plants from Somerset Flower Farm to create some stunning bundle-dyed silks. An enriching group of artists, writers, designers and hobbyists provided a scene full of ideas and opportunities, with new projects and collaborations being borne as a result.
At Hawkwood College, we had the pleasure of harvesting our own dye materials from the gardens, to use in class. Leaves were lovingly used as baskets and we returned to the studio with a series of unique flower offerings.
Beautiful, and carrying a plethora of therapeutic and symbolic values, these were transformed into the pretty silk prints displayed by the group below.
At Port Eliot Festival, we made eco-printed silk napkins, keeping in theme with the foodie vibe.
In a fun blue and white stripy tent! :)
Couldn't leave Cornwall without a trip to this place..
It was super exciting to offer the first Screen Printing With Natural Dyes workshop at East London Printmakers, in Hackney, at the beginning of August.
And such a joy to work in a proper print studio surrounded by beautiful old letterpress machines.
Thanks again to Hawkwood for providing such a wonderous place for foraging and creativity. Those blissfully green Stroud valley views are medicine for the soul.
Here's a pic of me (front right) with the Raised By Feminists Collective, showing off our freshly printed pieces.
Looking forward now to more workshops this Autumn!
Inspired by Saatchi Gallery artist Sigrid Holmwood, this workshop provides an opportunity to experiment with a range of exciting natural dyes and pigments - from flowers, berries, roots, leaves, insects and minerals. Learn how to use Japanese Shibori tie-dyeing to create resist patterns using simple folding and binding techniques, inject botanical dyes into folds of cloth, scatter fresh and dried flower petals into bundles for steaming to release their colour and create direct impressions on cloth. Learn about the joy of using natural materials to create exciting prints and colour on fabrics.
And two more dates at Hamilton House in Bristol.
Eco-printing is an awesome, contemporary traditional surface application technique, which allows you to make direct impressions on cloth, without the need for colour extraction or the dye pot.
In this class you can learn how to transfer colour from flowers, berries, leaves and waste foods, into beautiful repeat patterns using a simple fold, bind and steam method. Create plant based designs using your own fabric samples, small items of clothing or other textile projects. And take away something beautiful along with the skills to repeat the process for yourself again and again.
Indigo + Shibori: BYO : October 6th
An exciting opportunity to discover the alchemical process of achieving blue textile colours from plants.
Learn about natural indigo vat dyeing and experiment with a variety of traditional Japanese Shibori fold + bind "resist" pattern making techniques to create beauteous blue and white repeat patterns on cloth. The invitation is to bring your own natural fibre textiles, which must be washed in advance and brought to class damp. (There will also be some organic British silk available in class, for you to purchase at an additional cost). You will leave with an understanding of how to prepare your own vat, using a simple 3-step process, how to prepare, process and finish your cloth for lasting results, and use Shibori to make a range of different patterns, along with your own indigo Shibori dyed item to take away with you.
So many thanks and blessings to all the lovely people who hosted Botanical Inks this Summer and came to our workshops. It's been utterly lush!
With love, Babs :) xxx
Wow!! What a busy time!!
It's been non-stop, traveling around England delivering fun workshops this Spring!
I’ve been to a plethora of fantastic places, including several Soho Houses and the wonderful Bristol Textile Quarter. It's been a treat to work in these places and meet so many amazing people!
Electric House was the first location this Spring and I had a lovely time teaching a small group the art of bundle dyeing with rose petals, calendula and logwood.
At Babington House, we had a very pleasant plant identification walk around the gardens, before making some awesome Shibori T-shirts, made with fair-trade organic cotton, using local plant dyes, including onion, eucalyptus and nettle.
A week later myself, and my lovely assistant Lauren, were at Soho Works in Shoreditch to teach the same technique again, this time using lengths of organic British Silk.
We loved being in this cool space surrounded by textile machinery and the minimal white backdrop. What a location!
I had some time out, to digest all of these wonderful experiences while walking the Exmoor coastal path, among beautiful glowing gorse flowers, then it was back on the road. Next stop Hawkwood College for their Open Day, to talk about bundle dyeing and local flowers. And then on to Soho Farmhouse, in Oxfordshire, for a new one: Hapa-zome printing with flowers and leaves!
After this we had our second Selvedge Magazine workshop, this time using Shibori with local plant dyes. I’m thrilled by what everyone made!!
Check out these beauties!!
It was an utter delight to then offer the first Botanical Inks Hen Party workshop for a beautiful gathering of ladies, in Bristol, in their glorious flower-filled Georgian garden on a sun-filled Saturday afternoon. A dreamy experience which will linger with me for a long time...Picking blooms from the trees and hedges, to throw into silk bundles for steaming, while enjoying a cream tea in the sun...Served by naked butlers…Hah! Such fun!
And then we were back at Shoreditch House last weekend, to teach bundle dyeing again!
Its been amazing to visit all these incredible places and meet such inspiring and lovely people at every turn!
Thank you so much to all of the hosts, who welcomed us in to share these craft skills with their communities. It’s been a total delight..!!!
:) :) :) XxxXx
Looking forward to more on our Summer Tour!!