Regionalism in Natural Dyes

I've been reading Eco Colour by India Flint, a textile artist who is most known for her 'eco printing' textile work - using windfallen leaves and plants gathered around her farm in Australia to imprint onto the fabric.

Flint argues that a regionalist approach is necessary when using natural dyes, saying that "many dyes are made from plants harvested from fragile environments and shipped over great distances." (2008, p 26)

She poses the question: is it more sustainable for a manufacturer to use locally sourced organic cotton or imported silk? Cotton seems like the sensible choice, but the cultivation of cotton uses a vast amount of water. On the other side, how can you guarantee that the silk workers are treated fairly? This ethical dilemma is an example of the questions I ask myself when choosing materials, and so her regional approach to dyeing has really struck a chord with me.

I have been put in contact with a local forager who is keen to discuss natural dyes with me - I am hoping they can tell me what dye plants I can find locally.



  • Flint, I. (2017). Colour From Leaves. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 14 November 2017]
  • Flint, India. (2008) Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes For Beautiful Textiles. Colorado:  Interweave.