Crafty Manolo » The Past Was Colorful, Really

The Past Was Colorful, Really

By Twistie

I always find it kind of amusing that films set in the far, far past tend to show people dressed mostly in shades of brown and ecru with little touches of muddy green or dull ochre here and there. Oh, and the more poor people, the less color in general.

But the fact is that some surprising colors – and surprisingly bright shades of them! – can be produced via natural dyestuffs that would have been found growing by the side of the road.

For instance, I once chatted with a woman who dyed her own thread and wove her own fabric. She only used natural dyestuffs. I admired a scarf that included a rather delicious salmon pink stripe. What created that color? Mushrooms!

I still don’t know what kind of mushrooms they were. I didn’t think to ask and I’ve never met up with her again. All the same, there’s a variety of mushroom in the world that produces a clear, bright salmon pink when dying wool. Somehow, that makes me happy.

Depending on circumstances, using Queen Anne’s Lace as a dye might leave you with purple, green, or yellow. Oh, and dandelion roots can produce red dye.

Curious to know more? I found this handy chart of natural dyestuffs and what colors they produce over at Pioneer Thinking. You’ll also find some good basic information to get you started dyeing for yourself. Oh, and there are pages of tips from readers.

One Response to “The Past Was Colorful, Really”

  1. ZaftigWendy Says:

    I have done some natural dyeing. It was great fun, but VERY stinky.

    We have had to-dos here with arguments from “historical preservation” types protesting the use of bright colors to paint old houses. It’s funny to watch them go apoplectic when it’s pointed out to them that those houses weren’t always grey and brown, but were blue and yellow and pink and purple!

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
Copyright © 2004-2009; Manolo the Shoeblogger, All Rights Reserved

  • Recent Comments:

  • Subscribe!



    Manolo the Shoeblogger

    Quirks of Art - Scrapbook & Rubber Stamping Supplies


  • Archives:

  • August 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010