This dye extract is derived from Aztec Marigold - also know as Mexican Marigold (Tagetes erecta) and is native to Mexico/South America. The plant grows to 50 - 100cm and was commonly used by the Aztecs for medicinal, cultural and decorative purposes. In Mexico, its flower - the cempasúchil is called the flor de muertos ("flower of the dead"). Aztec Marigold been used for medicinal purposes since prehistoric times. The Cherokee used it as a skin wash and for yellow dye. Today the flower petals are a colourful addition to salads and the dried ground flower heads used as food colouring. Bright yellows, pale yellows, lichen greens can be achieved as a natural dye.
Before 1856, Natural dyes were used in time honoured techniques (as far back as 1500BC) but once synthetic dyes were invented in 1856, textile dyers and artisans moved from traditional natural dyes to synthetic dyes to colour their cloth and fibre.
They will dye any natural fibre using a handful of non-toxic mordants and additives to help fix the dye and also give you more colour variations. Natural dyeing is very much about reconnecting with the past - apart from using the plant materials you have at hand in your own garden, there are a number of traditional Natural Dyes and extracts including Indigo, Madder, Cochineal and Fustic.
By combining different dyes, mordants and depths of shade, you will produce an amazing palette of deep to subtle pastel colours. We hope you enjoy your Natural Dyeing adventure!