Naturally Dyed. Artisanal. Sustainable.
Naturally Dyed. Artisanal. Sustainable.
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Purity and Process: Making colour with spring water from the Oare Marshes in Kent

Conservation Eco Friendly Living Ethically Made Natural Dye Oare Marshes Small Batch Production Spring Water Sustainable Living Zero-waste

 

Natural Spring water from Oare Marshes in East Kent, Harty Ferry. Juniper & Bliss use spring water in their natural dyeing.
Natural spring water at Oare Marshes, East Kent. 

When we set up the Juniper & Bliss natural dye-house we were keen to maintain the purity of process and knew that at least the water would pose no issues as we are blessed with a gushing natural spring about 10 minutes away at Kent Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve at Oare Marshes.

Collecting Spring water from Oare Marshes, Harty Ferry, East Kent for natural dye by Juniper & Bliss

Collecting from the continuous flow of the spring water at Oare Marshes.

For us it is important that the natural dye chain is clean in every respect. We prefer the consistency of the chalk filtered spring water over heavily treated tap water.

Juniper & Bliss naturally dyed woollen scarves made with spring water from Oare Marshes, Harty Ferry, East Kent.
 Tansy and madder dyes made with natural spring water.

The source of the yarn for the textiles, the choice of dye materials, the foraging sites and the water to make the colours are equally important in creating pieces that are “pure” to the core.   

Baby Bliss blankets.

The water, checked annually by the environmental health team of the local council is a wonderful resource. We are part of a steady trickle of people in-the-know who fill up jerry cans and flasks with the sweet tasing, crystal clear natural spring water in preference a trip to the supermarket. It’s a no brainer.

tall grasses at the Oare Marshes at Harty Ferry, East Kent.

The tall grasses at Harty Ferry, East Kent.

Faversham Life’s excellent article tells us that the 76m deep artesian well was bored in 1900 by Mr R D Batchelor for the Mining Machinery and Improvement Company and since then, the many ways in which the spring and the aquifers below the town has continued to be a significant resource for the community and the disaster it was, when the plumbing gave way for a time. 

Naturally dyed BFL wool nestling in the tall grasses in the marshes of East Kent.

Naturally dyed Blue Faced Leicester wool nestling in the tall grasses.

As with everything we make, the dye for the Baby Bliss blanket, hand knitted with Blue Face Leicester wool from Yorkshire is prepared with spring water and locally foraged flowers. We like to think we make pieces that are fit for the sleeping babies. 

Harty Ferry, East Kent.

Harty Ferry, Kent.

The water collecting trips are always accompanied by walks into the beautiful and ever-changing salt marsh landscape. It is home to migratory birds, ponies and herds of cows grazing on the mineral rich vegetation which flourish in saline conditions. The NHBC offers a comprehensive understanding of the flora, fauna and environmental issues relating to the marshlands of the UK.

Pouring spring water into the dye pot at the Juniper & Bliss studio, Faversham, Kent.

Pouring spring water in the dye pot.

Having filled up the jerry cans, back at the dye-house we can start producing the next batch of colour for our sustainable and small batch of textiles for people who prefer a gentle pace of life.

When thinking about what we would like to add to our household or wardrobe, the real tricky bit is to weigh up the environmental impact against the true value of things, how they make us feel and the extent to which the making processes are true to our values.  

Making natural dye with spring water from Oare Marshes, Harty Ferry, East Kent.

Making dye with spring water.

Juniper & Bliss naturally dyed organic cotton on a basket next to the spring at Oare Marshes, East Kent.

 

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