i am sharing this one, not because i want to pick on this person or poke fun or be an inter-bitch but because my responses may answer similar questions for others. [please bear this in mind if you are moved to comment.]
[i have changed the name of my correspondent to the non-gender specific Jordan to save him/her possible embarrassment but otherwise have not edited their messages]
Dear Ms. Flint, I hope this email finds you well. I recently purchased your book Eco Colour and I am totally in love with it! I love the way you wrote it and all the information in it. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and for creating such a wonderful book! I'm a holistic interior designer and for the first time I'm venturing into the wonderful world of natural dyeing. I'm interested in developing a line of nautical fabrics that can be used for upholstering, window treatment and beach wear. I am planning to use Linens and Silks for upholstering and window treatments, and for the beachwear I'm planning to use several blends of organic cottons. Some of these blends are a mixture of cotton with bamboo and spandex (around 5%), cotton with soy and spandex, and cotton with hemp. I wanted to kindly ask you if you could possibly guide me as to what kinds of dyes are the most permanent and the ones that are more likely to withstand fading as a result of the sun, salt water, and even chlorine from a swimming pool? I will deeply appreciate from the bottom of my heart any information that you can share with me. Thank you for being such an inspiration. My warmest regard, - Jordan
Thank you for buying my book. I would be experimenting with local plants (and considering the impact that large scale production would have on the environment ) before launching a business.
Doing light and wash fastness tests etc. and I'd be researching the properties of the fabrics too.
In any event you have posed rather a lot of quite specific questions. Are you wishing to engage me as a consultant?
this message has been buzzed to you by a blue-tailed bee
Hello Ms Flin, what a pleasure to hear from you. My apologies for having bombarded you with so many questions. I am new to this and I thought that the more details I gave the better. What i wanted to know was basically if there is a particular type of natural dye that is more permanent than others. I guess the answer is not that simple. I am considering starting a home based business for local distribution. I live in a beach town where there are also lots of wooded areas which have a rich variety of vegetation. A lot of the things I create are from recycled materials also. I would love to hire you as a consultant but unfortunately i dont have a budget for it at this moment. If you provide me with your consultation fee I will make a note of it.
Thank you again for responding to my email and congratulations on your wonderful book!
My warmest regards,
I too would respond more formally but as you have not advised me of your surname I am not in a position to do so.
Nor have you given me any indication of where you live other than that you are in a beach town blessed with wooded areas. That you call it "wood" and not "bush" suggests that you are from somewhere other than Australia. That you write in English may narrow your location to an anglophonic region. But that could be anywhere and so my advice regarding the [to me unknown] vegetation would be meaningless.
If you have read the book you will know that it's not just about the vegetation, the growing location, the season of harvest but also about the quality of the local water, the choice of dye vessel and the type of fibre you wish to dye.
I've developed my methods based on a lifetime of working with textiles and plants. Dyeing funds my living.
Your proposal to develop a business as a result of acquiring my book is on a par with me deciding to set up as an aircraft technician after leafing through a book about planes.
It would be both truthful and easy to say that indigo and eucalyptus are the two most durable dyes I know...but whether they would be suitable for your applications [you mention spandex and chlorine, two substances I avoid where possible] is not for me to speculate.
May I respectfully suggest that you begin by familiarizing yourself with the local flora? Learn to identify it, know what is protected and what can be gathered and then begin to conduct your own experiments within a context of responsible collection and resource management. Consider planting a dye garden. Peruse the local weed list. Make samples, conduct light and wash fastness tests and then you may be in a position to determine whether you might launch a viable business. You might even think about taking a class.
But you can't grow potatoes without digging the ground. *
*Unless you are going to build a raised bed. Either way it does still require some effort.