Bloom & Dye
Fresh Cut Color

Journal

Follow Julie Beeler’s journal as she documents the activities on her flower farm Bloom & Dye, her natural dyeing results in her art studio, and showcases her students creations from her workshops.

Natural Silk Cocoons from Madagascar

I was recently introduce to Catherine Craig who for the past 16 years has been working with a team in Madagascar to develop a program that meshes tropical forest conservation with the production of a unique textile, cocoon silk, made from cocoons spun by endemic species of silk moths.

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Flower CSA Bouquets

The 2019 flower season has officially begun with our first CSA flower bouquet delivery. I am documenting each delivery we make and will be updating this journal entry as we move through the season. I am looking forward to seeing the variety of flowers, colors of blooms and the shear flower power we are growing. Hope you enjoy!

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Dyeing with Natural Mordants

The UC Botanical Garden in Berkeley, CA hosted Michel Garcia, chemist and natural dyer from France, to host a two-day workshop exploring natural mordants and dyes. Michel has done tremendous work in this area to explore plants and tannins as a sustainable method for natural dyeing rather than relying on minerals for mordanting. He demonstrated 14 different combinations yielding diverse colors on wool.

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Dyeing with Mushrooms

There is a long history and tradition from around the world of using fungi for dyeing and Dominique Cardon, in her book Natural Dyes, Sources, Tradition, Technology and Science, traces it back to as early as the 15th century. Our contemporary tradition is owed to Miriam Rice, who experimented, discovered, documented and spread the word about fungi as dyes for fibers and paper. Today dyers around the world are creating beautiful, brilliant colored fibers all from mushrooms. The title of Arleen Rainis Bessette & Alan E Bessette’s book The Rainbow Beneath My Feet captures the essence of dyeing with mushrooms and the unlimited possibilities of the colors that can be created.

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Fresh Leaf Indigo Fiber Dyeing

Working with fresh leaf indigo grown on my flower farm is one of those simple pleasures in life. In the depths of winter on these long grey days I have often reflected back to the fact that I grew these plants from seed to color and eagerly await the first indigo harvest in summer 2019.

Indigo has always been magical to me and I have dyed with it for many years in many forms across many types of fabrics and fibers, always yielding different results. I returned from a trip to Japan where I studied indigo and finally dug into the science behind it, learned some botany and chemistry, and finally understood how the ‘indigo’ that we see is actually created at a scientific level. With my new knowledge in hand I was ready for my first indigo harvest.

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