After a quick coffee and planning session, we set to work dyeing an assortment of organic cotton, silks and hemp. We started with rosemary – a dye neither of us had experienced working with before – that had been harvested from a decades-old rosemary bush in Charlotte’s garden. While the rosemary was simmering away, we simultaneously set up a red onion skin dye bath. Again, this was the first time that either of us had dyed with red onion skin – although brown onion skin has long been one of my favourite natural dyes. In addition to the variation of outcomes that dyeing with onion skin can produce, it is also can be grown domestically and without the use of pesticides, and helps to lower food waste.
True to the unpredictable nature of using natural dyes, both produced surprising outcomes. Much to Charlotte’s delight, the rosemary samples had been dyed a multitude of greyish green tones. The red onion skin, bizarrely, had produced shades identical to those of brown onion skin – a dye that I have been experimenting with since 2015!