Dyeing Wool From Natural Local Plants…Mykonos

Instructor THEODOR ANASTASATOS: has been offering islanders the chance to go back in time to an age when the ancient Greeks used natural dyes from plants to colour fabric and clothing. They also used shellfish and insects, however this particular course concentrates on native plants of Mykonos. Born of Austrian and Greek parents in NY. He studied fashion design of Central Saint Martins. He continues to work for Vivienne Westwood in London, Tokyo and the Indifex Group in Spain.

The two day workshops are under the auspices of KDEPAM and “THE FRIENDS OF FOLKLORE MUSEUM OF MYKONOS”

It was usual to dye the wool rather than the finished product. The main thing was to achieve colours which did not fade in sunlight or dilute in water. the Greeks would say a colour is saturated by saying the material had “drunk its fill”.

Greeks were able to use a large variety of everyday plants. Until recently, many of these plants were still used in textile dyeing in the Greek countryside. Plants such as onion, chamomile, grenade and others were easy choices. The most well-known and older dye is crocus, saffron. It comes from the stigmas of the crocus flower. There are 17th century BC mural paintings from Akrotiri Thera which display girls picking crocus stigmas probably to use in textile dyeing. Crocus colour was highly rated in ancient Greece

Students are taken step by step through the process. Each is given 4 skeins of wool and ties it with their chosen colour to later identify in the communal pot.

Each student carefully weighs and measures the wool and products before the first soaking.

The wool is cleansed, rinsed and squeezed several times in preparation for the dye.

The dyeing begins! The resulting colours are very vibrant. Mykonos was known for her bold colours, which seemed extra colourful under the Cycladic light and surrounding white architecture.

Mykonos is indeed fortunate to have this opportunity to learn from THEODOR ANASTASATOS

Images by Leanne Vorrias Mykonos PhotoRevelation

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