Researching plant dyes is central to my work, and involves cultivation, foraging locally, and foraging online.

Observing the plants that live around where I live in Malmö, I find traces of colonial relationships. One yellow dye plant that grows extensively in Malmö is Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis). It originally came from North America, where it was an important medicine and dye plant for the indigenous population. It was one of the earliest dye plants to be embraced by European settlers. In Malmö it has become rather invasive, so harvesting it for a dye is a beneficial relationship.

Another plant I have found growing locally is weld, a very important dye plant historically in Europe. While many plants produce yellow dyes, the vast majority are highly fugitive. Weld contains luteolin, one of the most lightfast yellow dyes. It likes poor alkali soil that has been disturbed. I have found it growing wild in the industrial areas of Malmö, especially near my studio. The wild form of weld, wild mignonette, also grows locally on old rail tracks.

© Sigrid Holmwood