Isabella Whitworth

probably more than natural and synthetic dyes, wax, resists, and history

Historical Dyeing at Leewood


Over the next few months I am working on a set of historical dye experiments at Leewood in the Dartmoor National Park with friend and colleague Jane Deane. Leewood is a beautiful 30 acre smallholding in the Dartmoor National Park owned by artist Nick Viney. It is set on the bank of the river Walkham with water-meadows and ancient woodland, and offers a versatile environment for events, creative study and sustainable (but definitely comfortable!) camping. You can see Leewood’s website here.

Jane and I are conducting a set of detailed dye experiments at Leewood using traditional dye recipes and several varieties of fleece. Using the dyes of woad, indigo, cochineal, madder and weld we are comparing amounts of dye absorbed by individual fleeces. This information will be of interest to contemporary makers and textile conservators. It will be a long project which could run into a second year so any conclusions will be arrived at slowly.

We did a starter session with weld earlier this month.

Our weld session left us with rather more questions than it answered, but we are on our way. The sessions at Leewood are open to visitors – although we may politely ask them to stop asking questions from time to time while we struggle with the maths, at which neither of us excels.

The next session is on April 11th, and we will be using madder.

2 thoughts on “Historical Dyeing at Leewood

  1. This sounds great! I’m setting up as a weaver, and, living just up the road from you, I will keep an eye on your developments and hopefully see you at some point!

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