Books: Natural Dyes by Dominique Cardon


The long awaited “bible” of natural dyeing has been waiting for me in Regina (I had it shipped here). The book is expensive, but it’s over 700 pages of large format with gorgeous illustrations and more information than I can absorb in quite a while. It has lots of things that I haven’t seen in any of the other books, but its focus is on the natural dyes that have had historic significance, not so much on the backyard sources of color. Having said that, a number of the North American as well as European backyard solutions can also be found in this book, with historic as well as archeological references that might not be available elsewhere and are most interesting. In a way, I think, this is the most fascinating part of the book, and I will likely keep posting some “stories” from this book, starting maybe with a historic witness account of how Ukrainians were harvesting the “Polish” cochineal.

Here is the list of contents, just to give you some sense of what’s there: 

The book has a large section on the chemistry of dyes, with proper formulae (or rather schematics) of the dye components, and while I used to hate chemistry in school, it seems that one would have no choice but to engage with the chemistry at some point, especially in order to understand the difference between how eggs take to dye as opposed to fibres.

As I said, the book is expensive, the cheapest I found (considerably cheaper than anywhere else) was in the online store in the book section. In addition, Maiwa has free shipping within Canada and continental US on orders over $200CAD, so if you add some dyes, or other goods to your order, you might be able to benefit from the free shipping (that’s what I did). Beware though, especially of you are a book addict, you might loose a fortune in that store :).

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