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Natural Color by Sasha Duerr – Book Review

Natural dye projects have been popping up all over my Pinterest feed and I love to read about the different plants that create the rich hues! It’s easy to pop into a craft store and grab a bottle of synthetic dye, but natural dyes take a little more work. I’ve worked with indigo kits several times (see my favorite one here) and experimenting with natural dyes in the past, but this book acts as a true reference guide along with several craft project ideas to go with the dyes themselves.

{This post contains affiliate links, indicated by an asterisk*. Please refer to ‘legal stuff’ in the top menu for more info. I received this book for free from Blogging for Books but opinions are all my own.}

Natural Color“* is described as “vibrant plant dye projects for your home and wardrobe”. The author, Sasha Duerr is a California College of the Arts professor who teaches textiles and fine arts. She writes in the introduction of her background and what drew her to natural dyes, and has another book published in the same genre, “The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes: Personalize Your Craft with Organic Colors from Acorns, Blackberries, Coffee, and Other Everyday Ingredients”*.

In the past, I have only written reviews of books that I tried one of their projects from but I’ve had this book on my to-do list since last Fall and just can’t pick one of them. It is inexpensive and easy to get the mordants off Amazon*, but I’ve really been trying to downsize my craft supplies and didn’t feel properly inspired by any of the options. When my kids are older, I would love to do some of these projects with them and experiment with collected materials. Some of them are SO beautiful, but just don’t fit into my life right now! Despite that, I think the book is beautiful and I wanted to share it on here. You can see all my craft/sewing book reviews listed out here.

This book is a mix of reference guide and project tutorials; covering the basics of making dyes, preparing fabric, different methods of dyeing, mordants, and natural fiber options.

Included in the book are these dye techniques covered:

  • Shibori
  • Dip-dye
  • Steam Printing
  • Citrus Bleach Resist
  • Plant Dye Pastes
  • Block Printing

Listing out all the craft projects in the book, organized by season and with seasonally appropriate natural materials.

Spring

  • Avocado Pit Pillowcases
  • Rose Petal Curtain
  • Plum Brance Leather Carryall Bag
  • Mint Table Runner and Napkins
  • Oxalis Child’s Dress
  • Dyeing with Calendula

Summer

  • Aloe Tunic
  • Dyeing with Bougainvillea
  • Indigo Bedding
  • Dyeing with Fresh Indigo
  • Eucalyptus Bark Necklace
  • Dyeing with Passionflower Leaves and Vines
  • Loquat Leaf Picnic Blanket and Napkins
  • Hibiscus Summer Hat
  • Dyeing with Wild Fennel
  • Dyeing with Weld

Fall

  • Onion Skin Rothko-Inspired Canvas
  • Black Bean Wool and Wire Baskets
  • Hopi Black Sunflower Seed Wool Rug
  • Dyeing with Persimmon
  • Rosemary Tablecloth and Napkins
  • Painting and Printing with Black Walnut
  • Madder Root Scarf

Winter

  • Pomegranate Rind Cocktail Napkins
  • Red Cabbage Baby Hat and MIttens
  • Blue Spruce Chunky Wool BLanket
  • Redwood Cone Sweater
  • Sweet Gum Leaf Watercolor Wall Wash
  • Dyeing with Citrus Peels

I think anyone who is interested in natural materials, slow fashion, or wild crafts would enjoy “Natural Color“*, it has several inspiring projects and lots of clear guidance on experimenting with dyes.

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