In 2016 we ran a project with Avena Carpets This project had in principle a very simple aim, to investigate the possibility of bringing to market naturally dyed carpeting.
While this may initially appear to be a simple task – all carpets before circa 1860 would have been naturally dyed – it is has to be remembered that the science / art of dyeing has moved on since the mid 19th century and much of the old skills and knowledge has been lost / forgotten, particularly on a large scale.
Avena had the facility for the production of all the dyed yarn that it needs for the weaving of its carpets as well as offering a commission dyeing service, The Mulberry Dyer bring their knowledge to this facility in order to produce large scale batches of naturally dyed yarn—their own facilities being of a much smaller size suited to their normal client base
Both companies involved, Avena Carpets and the Mulberry Dyer are specialists in their field, working together they are investigating and researching methods and techniques that will enable the production on a commercial scale of naturally dyed yarns and carpets. There is much work still to be done in the research, perfecting techniques and methods and trials will be ongoing for some while.
Two sample carpets were woven using the Wentworth pattern from the 1830’s one with natural and one with synthetic dyes. These have been analysed for washfastness, lightfastness and rubfastness. The initial results are very pleasing exceeding Industry standard in most cases.
If you would like more information, or feel you could offer help and advice in any way do please get in touch !