By Kevin Boon

Academics and students specialising in textile design at Arts University Plymouth have created a new plant garden for natural dye as part of their project ‘Of the Ground’. The project has established a natural dye garden at Poole Farm, combining Arts University Plymouth’s commitment to teaching sustainable processes with the use of local heritage-informed planting. The National Trust supported the project research and shared a planting list.

Planted in raised beds, the ‘Of the Ground’ dye garden will include a variety of plants such as woad, dyer’s coreopsis, daffodils, weld, marigolds, tansy, and madder, all sourced by local suppliers in the South West. The selection of plants was chosen in consultation with natural dye plant experts Nature’s Rainbow and natural dye guru Jane Deane.

Textiles Design Course Leader and textile designer Emma Gribble said: “As international awareness grows of how harmful many synthetic dyes can be to the natural world, I believe strongly that educators working within the textile and fashion industries have a responsibility to lead the way in teaching students alternative dye methods that are more sustainable and less damaging to the environment. This new partnership with National Trust Saltram actively investigates this. The project tests on a small scale how Arts University Plymouth can lead the way in encouraging students and textile practitioners to make more balanced decisions by building knowledge and awareness about alternative dye methods.”