Naturally Curated Colour

For part of the SDC International Colour competition, the scottish heat was held at my old second home, Edinburgh College of Art.

Three students from various Scottish universities came together to compete, and display their ideas for this year’s theme - Colour in Nature.

Alongside this, I was asked to provide a workshop for the students - something to inspire and distract, as well as fit with the competition theme.

The space being used on the day had no dye facilities and we were quite limited for time, so unfortunately actually doing some natural dyeing was off the cards. So I had to think a little outside the box.

I eventually landed on something I was quite excited about - to create contemporary still life colour palettes using my natural dye materials, hence the title Naturally Curated Colour (see inspiration below). I thought this would be a fun way to explore colour and potentially provide inspiration to the students of new ways to present their own palettes in the future. I also hoped it would create a nice, relaxed environment to discuss all things naturally dyed.

I gathered a variety of materials that I use when dyeing, as well as some dyed fabrics. This included dried natural dyestuff, dye liquors, print pastes, dyed fabrics in various sizes and glass containers to display any liquids.


The students were encouraged to work in groups to create a colour palette, but some of them were quite excited to explore the materials on their own. It was nice to see them wanting to engage so closely with the workshop, and it also allowed them to comfortably chat about their projects to calm their nerves for their presentations.

Below are a few snaps of the lovely palettes created on the day. A lot of them looked more like a collection of items from a nature gathering rather than a sharply constructed still life - but I like how this was the more instinctual way the students worked with what I had brought.

I picked out a few palettes from the day to show how varied they were even with quite limiting resources.


If you would like to see the work of some of the students who took part in the day, I managed to gather a few of the competing students’ Instagram pages to pass onto you readers:

@francescasmythdesign / @maisielzbthtextiles / @laurenpatchett.textiles / @kesandrewstextiles

You can also follow SDC to see more pictures of the day, including images of competition winners and their work @sdccolour.

Big thanks to Edinburgh College of Art for having me back for such a fun and inspiring day!