Colours of Autumn

There is a nip in the air and the nights are drawing in, but this is still my favourite season of the year. The colours of autumn have a brightness that defies the dark and my daily walk through the park always lifts my spirit. It is also a colour palette which is ideal for the natural dyer: the russet reds and deep yellows of the leaves are some of the most accessible colours in the world of natural dyes.

The red obtained from madder root (Rubia tinctorum) is naturally on the orangey side, and can be made even more orange by adding citric acid to adjust the pH of the dye bath. The yellow which comes from weld (Reseda luteola) can be brightened with chalk or saddened to a light green with iron. Taking these together, we have the makings of a vibrant autumn palette already. Add the red-purple of cochineal and some glossy walnut brown, and you have a loom-full of colour.

As well as dispatching a fresh selection of autumnal-hued scarves to Primavera this week, I have also been working on a little something extra. I’ll be launching this new design at the Festive Design Market at V&A Dundee on 24 November, so the photos below are just a teaser…