Dyeing for Information: Support A New Printing of Wild Colour by Jenny Dean

A bevy of naturally dyed yarns show the range of colors that can be derived from plants and bugs.

A bevy of naturally dyed yarns show the range of colors that can be derived from plants and bugs.

wildcolourjktTempe, AZ I’ve just set up a Facebook page advocating a new printing of Jenny Dean’s Wild Colour: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes. The book was originally published in 1999 and has been out of print for about three years.  It commands prices of nearly $100 on the used book market, putting it out of reach for all but the most affluent dye enthusiasts.

The book is an excellent reference for anyone interested in natural dyes and covers a wide range of  dye materials, making it relevant on a world wide basis.  It is a particularly important book for dyers who want to understand and limit the toxicity of their activities and focuses on getting optimum results without negative environmental impacts.  Jenny details the expected results to be achieved using the dye material by itself, with an alum mordant, an iron modifier and with both mordant and modifier.  The book sets a standard for documentation of methods and results that I would like to carry forward to the locally available dyestuffs used in Navajo weaving and I think the book deserves to be reprinted.  You can get a feel for the quality of the book if you check out the limited preview at Google Books.

Jenny Dean has tried several times to persuade the publisher to do a new printing, and you can read the details of her latest efforts in her blog.  Since Jenny does not own the copyright to the book, self-publishing options like lulu.com are not available to her.   I’m hoping that by establishing the page on Facebook, we’ll be able to build up a fan base that will show enough support for the book to cause the publisher to reconsider.   You can become a fan of the page, or write the publisher, Mitchell Beazley,  directly if you’d like to see the book reprinted.

Hagoshíí (so long for now)

Mary Walker

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