Volume 19 Issue 2 A Journal Dedicated to Natural Dyes Spring 2015


Colors of the Schulenberg Prairie (Detail)
Colors of the Schulenberg Prairie (Detail).
Tapestry, Churro wool naturally dyed with stick-lac, cochineal, madder, weld, Indigo, Osage Orange.
Photograph by Larry Fritz


Dear Readers:

Welcome to the Spring 2015 Edition of the Turkey Red Journal. There is good news for all of us who have been growing and experimenting with Japanese Indigo, Polygoum tintorium: John Marshall, who has written numerous articles for the TRJ, has published a book, Dyeing with Fresh-Leaf Indigo. The book itself is a beautiful piece of art, with fabric samples of color and techniques covering growing, printing, rubbings and vat dyeing, among others. Deb McClintock, also a contributing author to the TRJ, has written a review of the book with information on purchasing a copy.

"My Affair with Indigo" is the background story of John Marshall's interest and experience with Japanese Indigo. In an upcoming edition of the TRJ, John will cover the subject of fresh indigo dyeing and light-fastness.

Also in the edition, we have an article, "Early Spring Dyeing and Healing with Goat Willow," from a Lithuania artist and teacher, Giedra Dagiliene. Giedra's work focuses on exploring ancient technologies for natural dyeing, experimenting with local plants and transforming knowledge to sustainable education programs for children and adults.

In my own natural dye garden this year, I am planting Greenthread, Thelesperma filifolum, also known as Cota or Navajo Tea, and rabbitbrush, Chryothamnus viscidiflorus, along with madder, weld, woad and Japanese Indigo. I had some success with the Cota last year, directly sowing the seeds into the ground in late spring. This year, had I great success starting about 40 plants on an old waterbed heater with lights overhead. The rabbitbrush was slow to germinate, so I gave some seeds to Tom Martin, a friend of mine and garden expert, to plant in his greenhouse. So far, we have three shoots sprouted.

Currently, I have a tapestry, Fall to Spring Colors–Chicago Botanic Garden, in an exhibition at the Noyes Art Center in Evanston, Illinois. This Fall, an exhibition titled Chrome Green, will feature of four of my pieces, along with a natural dye art/laboratory installation, at the Heaven Gallery, 1550 N Milwaukee Avenue # 2, Chicago, IL, opening September 11, 2015.

I will again be offering two natural dyes classes at the Chicago Botanic Garden: in September 2015, "Natural Dyes Color Mixing," and in March 2016, a Natural dye and Indigo class. For more information contact the Chicago Botanic Garden at (847) 835-8261 or contact me directly at madder@comcast.net.

We have moved to an open submission policy for articles, artwork, exhibit notices and reviews for for upcoming issues. We are interested in featuring dyers from around the world, so don't hesitate to submit your ideas for articles. Send your submissions to madder@comcast.net.

Back issues of the print version of the TRJ are still available for purchase. Contact me directly for further information. Please keep sending in your thoughts and suggestions. We appreciate all your comments.

If you are not currently on the TRJ new issue notification mailing list and would like to receive notification when the new issue is online, please send an email to madder@comcast.net. Your email address will not be shared with others.

As always, a special thanks to Bob Feldman, our copy editor and webmaster for all his hard work.

Pamela Feldman
Editor and Publisher