Natural Dyes Navajo Style

Today, we collected the plants that we’ll use in a few hours to dye wool. We met with Rose Dedman and then went to the Defiance Plateau to collect sage, rabbitbrush, cliffrose and ground lichen. Then we headed out to Navajo, NM to collect Navajo tea, which can be used as an herbal tea as well as a dye for wool. Then we went just beyond Navajo to the Snake Rocks, a tuffaceous sandstone outcrop which glows green against the red sandstone cliffs because of a high concentration of olivene. There, we gathered coreopsis. After lunch, we headed out to Standing Rock, NM to collect wild carrot, a type of rumex which produces a burnt orange color, and finally made a stop at the Crownpoint rug auction. We have to be at the dyepots early in the morning, so I’ll leave you with a picture of the cliffrose blossoms. The leaves, twigs and flowers produce a beautiful beige color with pink undertones. Before the Navajo used diapers, the twigs and leaves were used to line cradleboards.

Cliffrose blossoms on the Defiance Platueau

Cliffrose blossoms on the Defiance Platueau

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