Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Our New Colour Palette

We have been busy expanding our colour palette using only natural plant and mineral dyes. We have added indigo blue to our colours and have started growing our own at our test farm. Madder root which produces reds, oranges and pinks grows wild here in Jordan. Yellows are easy to find. Our favourites come from pomegranate rind, olive leaves, camomile flowers and ochre earth. And blacks are made by adding iron to pomegranate, tea or eucalyptus bark.

Natural dyes produce different colours on wool or cotton. 

Our scrap pile of cotton fabric is rich in possibilities now. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Our Children

We photographed our children.

Noor's embroidery of Safi kids is colourful and full of joyful details. 

Mirfet shows off her embroidery of Safi children which is painted with local ochre mud that we dig from Wadi Mujib. 

Friday, September 12, 2014


With UNESCO's support we have started dyeing with the wonderful plant based dye - indigo. Through history this dye has been just about the only source of the prized color blue on textiles. There is a more complicated dye procedure than other dyes but the results are addictive.

To reduce the oxygen in the dye vat we use mashed bananas or chopped dates - both of which are farmed in our community.

We are testing resist pastes that block the blue dye, leaving white areas. To our delight we have discovered that our local Dead Sea mud is an excellent resist. These test strips vary in the source of the mud and the application onto the fabric. After dyeing the fabric is washed and the mud cleaned away.

Best of all we are now able to make things like this hat and dress.  Noor and her daughter Sabeel are very pleased with the results of our indigo work.

And this modern take on tie dye is beautifully modeled by Meesar's grandaughter. 

We have planted indigo on our test farm so that soon we will be able to use our own indigo! (Currently we purchase Indian sourced indigo from the United States)

 Irrigation is essential in the hot dry climate.

Our indigo test farm is experimenting with different forms of irrigation, seed density and fertilization.

Soon the wonderful blue dye colouring this hand spun wool will come from our own plants, just like the other colours do. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Dyes from the Plants of Jordan

With support from UNESCO and research from the Jordanian Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature we have located and harvested wild madder root near Dana Village in Jordan. The is exciting news and we have been very happy dyeing with the roots. So far we have found many lovely pinks on cottons and bright orange on wool. We are still working to achieve the difficult pure red.