The Hebridean Dye


The second collection of Dragons Are Real is about colours, dyes and plants. I wrote many articles about this passion. In the Outer Hebrides, there is a long and old tradition of plant dye with the Harris Tweed. Now this beautiful cloth is dyed with modern pigments. But not that far in the past, the weavers used to dye themselves the wool with plants and material they could gather around their home. Last autumn, I engaged in a 6 weeks art course with An Lanntair exploring weaving and plant dye with Pieter Van Der Werf. Its been a fabulous enriching experience. Since, I got this book by Jean Fraser ‘Traditional Scottish Dyes & How to make them’.

There is a lot of books about plant dye around the world, very interesting resources also exist in UK but it is really rare to find the recipes that used the Scottish or even Hebridean plants. This book is a gem and I look forward for spring and summer foraging throughout the island. The Outer Hebrides have so much to offer.

Meanwhile I’ve been experiencing dye recipes on rope these last 2 years and I feel more and more comfortable to try new things.

But here is my source of pride of 2022. The shapes and the shades are creating a perfect combination. From this moment, when I made my very first dyed big basket, I understood I was opening so much more possibilities in my art.

I like colours and bright colours in my daily life. My home is rich in colours but I love the natural shades the plants are offering here. It is like a call of nature, it is calming like watching the scenic Hebridean landscapes.

These baskets will be available in my online shop 1st February. See you next week to speak a bit more about the Dye magic. 

Have a lovely week, 




Photos 2 to 6 : Ralph Tonge

Leave a comment