Naturally creative

News article

Naturally creative
From searching forest floors to beachcombing, workshop teams at The Croft have been going the extra mile to find natural materials to enhance their products.
It’s fun getting out and about together, and then experimenting with things they’ve collected to add a special twist to pot pourri, soaps, textiles and more.

Using vegetable dyes

Joanna’s in the vegetable dyeing group, testing out plants to see which ones work best for dyeing fleece and strands of cotton. She says, ‘I joined because I quite like getting messy!

‘We found out that turmeric is really good. It comes out bright yellow. We’ve dyed some fleece and some cotton so that Joseph, who does rag rugs, can use the material to make a yellow rug.  ‘

We also found out that blackberries and blueberries work. We’re going to go and find some berries this summer and have a nice walk. And we’re going to go to the seaside to get seaweed.’ Penny, who  leads the workshop, adds: ‘We’ve started a little garden, too, to grow plants like woad, madder and indigo.’

'You have to stir them'

 ‘I’ve been looking after the dyes in the pans’, says Mark. ‘You have to put the things in water and let them steam. You have to stir them. And then you pour the water out through a sieve into a bucket. And then you put the wool in.’

He’s been using vegetable-dyed fleece in colours like orange, beige and grey to make needlefelt animals in the Croft Weavery.

'There's lots going on'

Over in the soap group, foraged driftwood adds an authentic touch to seaside-themed potpourri – and wild rose hips, calendula and lavender come in handy for soaps and bath bombs.

‘There’s a lot going on’, says Jamie. ‘We make different soaps, in all different colours.’ It’s all about group effort and imagination – naturally!