Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Wild Textiles

It's nearly a week since my 'Wild textiles' workshop - 2 days of foraging and wild textile making with 5 other intrepid makers...

Sally and Geoff kindly lent us and even erected their party tent in our garden (very bake off) and we got started by foraging and collecting local plants, leaves, bark, mud, chalk... everything we might need for making colour, creating resists and dyeing cloth.

Together we filled our huge collection of pots and pans (sorry, Ursula but the seaweed went in the one you leant me) with our seasonal haul - hops, alder, ash, walnuts, willow, black berries, wayfarer tree, weld, dandelions, rhubarb, raspberry leaves amongst other things. And as we got the colours on the boil, delicious smells and enticing colours started ouzing out.

At this point we short circuited the electricity in David's writing hut - but redeployed our stoves and kept ongoing. We also mixed up a resist in the tradition of Indian dhabu printing using mud from our local River Adur and smashing up loads of chalk - which was hard work. We dyed our resists in indigo with lovely results.

By the afternoon of the second day we were totally on a roll - I was very impressed by everyone's meticulous record-keeping of their experiments with different mordants and afterbaths. Very different colour palettes emerged.

It was to be to be honest - a bit of an adventure... climbing chalk cliffs, slipping in mud, getting stung and ruining our hands our hands in the process - but the results were truly stunning.


We were overwhelmed with the range and breadth of colour that can be created locally and on such a low-tech basis. Well done to everyone who came along and shared their energy, passion and enthusiasm. Especially Elise, who helped so much - thank you.

I am now taking bookings for Spring Wild Textiles 2017 - a seasonal 2 day workshop based in the South Downs and all about the local colour we can forage and create for ourselves sustainably. So if you're interested in a South Downs adventure get in touch with me at

The workshop costs £80 for 2 days with all materials included and you will learn how to make your own natural dyes using foraged plants, make mud resist patterns with indigo and experiment with a larger piece to take home with you.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

My website finally went live this summer and I wanted to blog about the whole experience of creating the website, products, logo.

First and biggest thanks to Andy Hodge who encouraged me from the first and did all the technical stuff so that I can now manage and maintain the site for myself.

Building the website was great for helping build a team around me - Beverley Witter at Opening Statement who sewed up the blinds and cushions, Martin Cleave who took the beautiful photos as well as Andy throughout. I dyed, printed and sewed everything else myself, including metres and metres of wallpaper...sometimes it felt like my degree show all over again.

Martin took my idea (above) and turned it into this!

My three top tips for anyone else thinking about setting up a web shop would be

  • Have a clear vision for your brand - with a little help from my kids I got there in the end. Robin told me 'Not everyone wants everything indigo, mummy' - a real breakthrough moment!
  • Be organised - with a clear list of products and shots needed. Martin only had a day to do the shoot so we had to be super organised.
  • Ask for help - Fanny Shorter ( helped me with legal blurb and terms and conditions. Thanks so much Fanny!
Please have a look and let me know what you think. It's definitely still a work in progress - but for the moment it's helped me create a public face for dora fabrics that I can share with the world and take advantage of many more opportunities (apply for markets, commissions, promote my workshops etc) as well as connect with potential customers.