Indigo Blue Scarf  $75.00

​Handwoven with handspun yarn dyed with indigo natural dye

Dyeing With Indigo    Indigofera Tinctoria L., True Indigo, is a perennial, a member of the legume family and native to India, one of the oldest known centers of indigo dye production.  According to the USDA, in the U.S., the Southeast has the best conditions for growing Indigo. The leaves of the indigo plant is where the dye properties are derived and only a small amount of the dye, approximately 2-4%, requiring very large amounts of plants to produce an adequate quantity of dye making the Indigo a precious commodity. The historical use of Indigo as a dye has been documented as far back as the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans by their ancient artifacts.  Our colonial forefathers grew indigo in large quantities in Georgia to North Carolina.  In 1742 Eliza Lucas, later known as Mrs. Charles Pinckney, was the first to be successful in growing the indigo plant on her father’s plantation.  Most colonial homes here on the Cape had their own indigo vat for their personal home dyeing use. Human urine was used as an ingredient for the necessary alkali element.  Today, natural dyers use washing soda in place of human urine but many, like Corinne, still use the natural fermentation method.  Why in this day and age would a fiber artist choose to use a fermentation vat?  One, it is safe and natural, also some shades of indigo blue are only obtainable with a fermentation vat.  In addition, once the fermentation vat is set up and functioning, it can be kept operational for many years.  In some traditional cultures, vats have been found that are over 100 years old and are still usable!  Most importantly, it’s tremendously gratifying to reproduce and use a method such as this with such historical significance.   

                            Magic Scarf  $125

Corinne's Magic Scarves are hand woven using a variety of wool, silk and cotton hand spun yarns that are dyed with a variety of natural dyes.  

Corinne's famous and fabulous Honeycomb Mittens   $50.00

Hand knit from hand spun yarns that Corinne dyes with
​natural dyes.  Sizes:  Small, Medium, Large

 While watercolor is Corinne's primary medium, she also has been spinning, weaving and working with natural dyes since 1980.  Her beautiful work with fiber is evidence of the artistic quality of this, her other medium, Fiber Art.  While working on an art degree at the University of Georgia and living in NE Georgia she acquired a small flock of sheep and learned to spin, weave and dye her yarns with natural dyes from her rural NE Georgia neighbors.  The cyclical nature of her craft is a life that is in sync with nature and has become a way of life for Corinne.  In her world, everything is connected and everything comes full circle from the colors yielded by dye plants to the availability of fiber and dye materials.  Thus, her life is dictated by the seasons. 

Corinne has done consulting on historical pieces for museums, given talks, demonstrations and conducted natural dye workshops all over the United States.  She has a hand spun, natural dyed piece as part of a SE Native costume display at the Smithsonian.  Now back home here on Cape Cod, she regularly can be found demonstrating spinning at local festivals and farmers’ markets.  She has given talks and conducted natural dye workshops at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. 

Some of the materials Corinne uses for her dyes are purchased because they are not readily available in her area: Logwood, Brazilwood, indigo or Cochineal.  Some material are grown right in her own garden like marigolds, yarrow, comfry and tansy. Recently she established a madder root patch.  Other material needs to be gathered from the local fields and forests like queen-anne's-lace, one of Corinne's favorites,walnut hulls, lichen and mushrooms.

The method Corinne uses for dyeing with indigo is different from the other dye methods.  It's a fermentation method.  See the article below for more details about dyeing with indigo using the fermentation method.

Why in this day and age would a fiber artist choose to use natural dyes?  One, it is safe and natural, also some shades are only obtainable using natural dyes.    Most importantly, it’s tremendously gratifying to reproduce and use a method such as these with such historical significance

“I especially enjoy the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with natural dyes that I may share the joy and rewarding experience of using a craft with such historical significance.  My hope is that whoever  sees my exhibits or hears my talks and demonstrations will gain an insight into the magical world of spinning, weaving and natural dyeing that will thereafter hearten a curiosity for the gifts of nature’s palette.”         
Corinne Lilie