Last summer on a whim I planted some marigolds. I stumbled across a farm that had a few plants to purchase on the side of the road. Their marigolds looked beautifully golden and orange. Coincidentally, in the same summer, I became obsessed with dyeing fabric to the perfect shade of yellow. What’s the perfect shade of yellow you ask? It’s a golden yellow, that’s an earthy bright shade, not pastel or muted or neon, there’s a subtle orange hue to it and its absolute stunner against the skin. Often people shy away from yellow, they feel it’s either too summery or childish. But once you find that perfect shade, everything literally makes sense.
While I researched ways to be eco-friendly and create that shade, I found I could dye using marigolds. So I went to my front yard and plucked some marigolds. Just when I was about to start dyeing, I thought I should share the process in real time on social media. I felt unusually comfortable to potentially fail in front of my audience. I dropped my inhibitions to be perfect and knowledge-able of what I was doing. Although now I more commonly show my face on camera, at that moment, this was extremely out of character for me. And to say my audience was invested, was an understatement. People were checking for updates in between work meetings and patient visits. They had suggestions, they cheered me on and they let me know they were waiting to see how it turned out.
And I LOVED it!!! I fed off the attention and energy. I laughed and nervously shared the progress in real time. For a while there, it looked like I was not about to achieve that perfect shade. And then poof, the Indian in me added some turmeric to the dye pot and it was literally the PERFECT shade of yellow. I swear, the sun shone a little differently that day. When I photographed the scarf I dyed, it didn’t even need any editing or filter to capture the true shade. And this began my journey to dye with marigolds, indigo and cochineal, to mix dyes and create new shades and so forth.
This summer, I wanted to go bigger and do more than last summer. I went to the farmers market and found a nice local farm booth that sold me a tray on marigolds for $15 (approx. 20 small plants). He even let me choose the plants to fill the tray. I planted a large patch in my garden with these marigolds and they grew so beautifully.
This time around, I want to bring a fresh and modern vibe to natural dyeing. Think sophisticated, minimalist modern, clean and a bit abstract. I want to create a pattern by layering natural dyes to create patterns and colors. The first step in this process is to dye the fabric yellow using marigolds.
In my next blog post, I will go through a step by step process on how to dye using marigolds. You can read it here 😊
Here's a sneak peek into the article :)