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The Loom Shed Natural Dye Symposium – Isabella Whitworth

June 26 @ 11:30 am - 12:30 pm


Pursuing Purple : Shellfish, Lichen and Mauve

For the last 12 years Isabella Whitworth has been researching the nineteenth century dye trade in lichen, historically used for making a purple dye called orchil. Her findings unexpectedly linked to two other famous dyes: Imperial Purple and Perkin’s Mauve. A richly illustrated presentation will trace the fascinating story discovered by her research.

Isabella hand-paints and dyes scarves, shawls and fabric lengths and specialises in resist techniques such as wax, folding, tying and clamping. Most of her work is on silk. She started working with synthetic dyes over 30 years ago, but has developed a strong interest in natural dyes which led to several years’ work research into the dye trade and its history; she has published her work and contributed to some major international conservation projects.

Isabella trained as a graphic designer and illustrator. Drawing has always been a key element of her design work, which is often based on nature. She produces work in synthetic steam-fixed dyes on silk, and also natural dyes. She teaches at West Dean College and other selected venues, mostly in the South West, and is an elected Member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen.