Dyer’s Takeover: Zuzana Krskova

What is your favourite dye?

I enjoy using a variety of dye plants in my creative practice. Madder root (Rubia tinctorum) is among my favourites. One of the most ancient dyes, it is a reliable source of red and also produces shades of orange, pink and brown. It is versatile, can be used in a variety of ways and keeps on giving.

Can you share one of your favourite recipes with us?

Here’s a simple recipe using the cool dyeing method that I learnt from Jenny Dean.

Use 50-100% of dyestuff to WOF (weight of fibre). Wash the madder well in clear water & put in the dye pot, fill up with cool or hand-hot water and add the wetted fibres (an alum mordant gives brick reds or coral reds, if no mordant is used, brownish-red or orange-red shades result). Leave them to steep for several hours or days until the desired depth of colour is achieved, moving the fibres regularly. Rinse and wash after dyeing.

How does Ethel Mairet inspire you?

While living in Brighton, several women inspired me on my creative journey. Sue Craig and her craft, activism and infectious enthusiasm. Natural dyeing expert Jenny Dean and her passion for sharing her vast knowledge and experience in her books and courses. I learnt so much on the One Year Natural Dyeing Course with Jenny at DMAC. And there is the influence of Ethel Mairet, a pioneer of the 20th century modern craft and natural dyeing revival who was an integral part of the Ditchling creative community. An influential teacher, she wrote an important natural dyeing handbook Vegetable Dyes (1916).