Tinctorium, a Latin word meaning “used for dyeing or staining”, is the name Penny Jewell has given to her studio, where she spends her time exploring the dye potential of plants gathered from her garden and the forests on her farm.

Dyeing with botanicals allows Penny to combine her passion for textiles with her life-long interest in plants. Penny finds using plant material to dye and mark fabric endlessly fascinating, as the effects are not always easy to predict and there is a degree of “happenstance” that adds excitement.

Until the invention of the first synthetic dye in the mid 19th century, all fabric colours came from plants, animals or minerals. Penny finds it intriguing to once again create a range of natural colours, especially as many of the plants she experiments with have never been tested for their dye potential. Each new plant brings the anticipation that she may be able to discover a fabulous new dye; to reveal a hidden treasure.

The rise of an awareness of the stresses on our environment and the need for conservation of natural resources is sufficient reason to kindle an interest in botanical dyes.

However, Penny’s fascination with natural dyes is more than that – it is the magic of the diversity of these colours and while they may sometimes be unpredictable and surprising – they always seem to be harmonious.

Made in Western Australia.

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