Natural dye educator uses plant dyes to turn fabrics into beautiful and functional works of art

Austin, Texas-based natural dye educator Jamie Young, who calls herself "The Barefoot Dyer" on her social media, uses dyes from plants to turn fabrics into beautiful works of art. On her website, she provides this bio:

With a passion for nature, exploration and teaching, Jamie creates natural dye education and community spaces that welcome all. Jamie's courses and workshops are guided by her philosophy: learning is a lifelong journey, we were all beginners at one point and no question is too silly to ask.

Her experience teaching natural dye techniques began in a free community setting, with the belief that art should be accessible to all. Accessibility continues to be a core principle in her natural dye practice. Scholarships are available for her online and in-person courses/workshops and she utilizes her blog and Instagram to share free natural dye education.

Growing up in a tiny trailer home in the Texas countryside, Jamie found refuge by escaping outdoors and exploring the surrounding woods and her mom's flower and vegetable gardens. With a father who was an environmental scientist and botanist and a mother with an enthusiasm for organic gardening, plants, and sustainability always played a formidable role in her life. Her fascination with plant color began during those early childhood years. That fascination has led to years of experience studying natural dyeing, tending her own organic dye gardens, and foraging local plants.

I spent some time on her TikTok scrolling through her many videos demonstrating various techniques to extract dyes out of plants and onto fabrics, a process that typically involves placing the flowers or other plant materials on the fabric, carefully rolling them up, and then steaming the bundle. The outcomes are beautiful, and the videos are so relaxing to watch.

Here's a gorgeous "November garden bundle dye," made with "dye plants" including strawberry blonde marigolds, incredible swirl coreopsis, sulphur cosmos, purple basil, Mexican mint marigolds, and madder root. Here are some beautiful broomweed prints on bamboo silk. Jamie explains that pre-dye, the fabric "was pretreated with mineral salt mordants that will allow the dyes properly bind to the fabric and withstand wash & UV exposure." Here's a lovely organic cotton table runner also printed with broomweed, which creates "delicate mustard yellow prints that become darker and more pronounced with the addition of iron to the mordanting process." 

I think this is my favorite—these coreopsis flowers on peace silk are just incredible. This organic cotton with a sulfur cosmos print is also delightful. Finally, I am just astounded at how beautiful these "flower tie dye" socks are—they incorporate several flowers that work well for "eco printing," including plains coreopsis, uptick coreopsis, incredible swirl coreopsis, sulphur cosmos, pinkies cosmos, rubenza cosmos, and marigolds. These socks are almost too pretty to wear!

See more of Jamie Young's work on InstagramYouTube, and TikTok. She has also created online, go-at-your-own-pace courses so that you can learn to how to make your own natural dye creations.


Is anyone else excited about sock season? 🧦✨🌼 Many flowers that work well for eco printing can be grown in a spring garden 🌿 Here's a few of my favorites: – plains coreopsis – uptick coreopsis – incredible swirl coreopsis – sulphur cosmos – pinkies cosmos – rubenza cosmos – all marigold varieties Will you join me in wearing your flowers this year? 🌷 #austintx #flowers #wildflowers #ecodye #ecoprint #naturaldye

♬ Golden Hour: Piano Version – Andy Morris

Sulfur cosmos on organic cotton. Bundled snd steamed to transfer the dyes from flower to fiber. 🌼 #ecoprinting #naturaldye #fallcrafts

♬ Autumn Leaves – Timothy Cole

A November garden bundle dye 🪻✨ This sweet bundle dye was made with the dye plants that are currently blooming in my garden, as well as some recently harvested madder root. I worked with: Strawberry blonde Marigolds Incredible swirl Coreopsis Sulfur cosmos Purple basil Mexican mint marigolds Madder root Bundle dyeing is such a simple, beautiful way to capture a plant's color on cloth. It's my favorite way to incorporate some play into my dye practice. 💫 If you'd like to learn more about dyeing with plants, my online, self-paced natural dye courses are currently 40% off with code GIVING ☀️ #naturaldye #plantdye #flowerdye #tiedye #fyp

♬ In The Forest (Acoustic Indie No Copyright) – Instrumental – Lesfm & Olexy