Inspired by the environmental damages caused by the textile industry, especially caused by synthetic dyes, I wanted to research into alternative, natural solutions for dyeing. I decided to look beyond the 'usual' natural dye products that have been used by many crafters, such as fruits, vegetables, tea, indigo, cochineal, etc.
In my research I came across textile designers/dyers who have dyed with pigments extracted from algae, seaweed and mushrooms. Soon enough, I stumbled upon lichen dyes, and became fascinated by this half-fungus, half-algae organism that hides before us in our environment in plain sight.
Lichens survive by "extracting water and essential nutrients from the atmosphere around them." (Woodland Trust) Because of this, "they are useful indicators of air quality and pollution." (Woodland Trust) Each type of lichen is different, just just in their shape, texture, and colour, but in their sensitivities. For example, "sulphur dioxide from coal-burning stations can be harmful to some but other are tolerant." (Woodland Trust)
Mindful Collection of Lichens
Ammonia Dye Method
Lichen Dye Results