Natural dyeing at the Turku Medieval Market

Two different colours accomplished by two different dyestuffs

Two different colours accomplished by two different dyestuffs

If you follow me on Instagram, you already have seen some of my photos and videos from the  Turku Medieval Market, (Keskiaikaiset markkinat) showing the dyeing demonstration. It was really fun to watch, and I wanted to share some of the photos and video here too.

From the list of vendors at the market, I think that this display was provided by Irma Sundqvist from Irman Threads Oy- Irmanlangat.fi. They were dying over a fire during the market, and also had a number of skeins and fabrics at different stages to show the colour range available through natural dyes.

Orange wool yarn dyed with lichen at the Medieval Market in Turku

Orange wool yarn dyed with lichen at the Medieval Market in Turku

Some of the different plants/organisms that Irma uses to dye textiles with include:

  • Green: reeds, lupine, birch leaves, bird cherry leaves, onion, heather and nettles
  • Yellow: heather, apple tree bark, pine bark, and flowers including yellow chamomile flowers
  • Pinks: red roots,  and mushrooms (specifically cortinarius armillatus)
  • Browns and muddy colours: St. Johns wort, mushrooms, and lingonberries
  • Orange: Lichen – pictured here as well.

Her website also includes dyed wooden buttons, using similar ingredients, but also tea and coffee (for brown), blueberries (for purple), indigo (blue), turmeric (yellow)

During the demonstration, the person dyeing had to step back several times. She was dying with reeds I think, and I suspect it was because the smell was offensive to inhale for too long when the wind shifted the steam in her direction.

A basket full of various coloured yarns dyed with natural dyes.

A basket full of various coloured yarns dyed with natural dyes.

Scroll through for more photos from this demonstration/vendor!

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Have you done much dyeing with natural plants and organisms? Is there anything you’d especially like to try?

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