Dyer's Pot
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The traditional art of dyeing has been practiced for centuries.  Every good homemaker knew the basic principles of dyeing and most had a working knowledge of the local plants that could be used to create attractive colors on linen, silk and wool.

The search for superior plant dyes accounted for part of the lust for new trade routes in the 15th and 16th centuries.  When settlers arrived in the new world, they brought with them plants that they knew how to use as dyestuffs.  The lore of dyeing was richly varied -- each country discovering through experimentation new plant materials that could be used in the dye vat.

This list of dye plants provides information on possible colors achieved, typical fabric applications, necessary mordants, and of course which plant parts to use in the dye pot.

   Index to traditional dyer's plants (A to C)

   Index to traditional dyer's plants (D to O)

   Index to traditional dyer's plants (P to X)


Heuchera sanguinea

Coral bells,
Alum root

This Heuchera, commonly called Coral Bells, is grown in the garden for its late spring and early summer blossoms which dance on short stems above the pretty basal leaves.

Many species of Heuchera have traditionally been called Alum Root and are a source of alum which is used for mordanting purposes.  When applied to wool this hardener fixes the colors applied in the dyer's pot.

Last reviewed November 01, 2004   


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