Textile history: experimenting with natural dyeing

©Olivier Milleville

It’s already time to close the textile web series. For this final excursion, head to the Abbey of Saint-Georges de Boscherville for an experiment: textile dyeing based on natural dyes.

The Department of Seine-Maritime and colorist Virginie Lagerbe pay tribute to the Rouen botanist Louis-Alexandre Dambourney with an exhibition presenting his work. This man rebuilt the local plants in the natural dyes industry.

Located in the Seine Valley, the gardens of the Abbey of Saint-Georges de Boscherville are full of various types of plants and flowers, which at the time, and still today, can be used to make natural dyes for dyeing, among other things, textiles.

This is what Louis-Alexandre Dambourney, born 300 years ago, was already interested in. This manager of the botanical garden of Rouen restored local plants such as the madder. This perennial plant from the Rubiaceae family was widely cultivated for the red color obtained from its rhizomes. Also commonly called madder or dyers’ redness. It will be used in the natural dyeing industry of the 17th century.
Virginie Lagerbe, a dyer for ten years, discovers the extraordinary colors of common dyeing plants. Colors vary depending on nature, year, rainfall and type of textile fibers.
Virginie Lagerbe conceived the exhibition “Colors of indigenous plants” dedicated to the work of Louis-Alexandre Dambourney, which is being held at the Abbey of Saint-Georges de Boscherville until June 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

In the video below, he gives a demonstration with a tincture made from a decoction of reseda gaudes. She shows us how the linen scarf will soon be yellow in a completely natural way.

Watch movie “Through textiles and their colors in Seine-Maritime” which brings together all the videos on the topic of textiles on the Institute’s YouTube channel.
Public exhibition.
Prices: included in the ticket.
Information: 02 35 32 10 82 or abbeysaintgeorges@seinemaritime.fr

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