Kitty Wilson Brown is our latest artist to take part in our Meet the Artist Series where we invite a talented, Natural Dye expert to take on the challenge of dyeing their bespoke knickers using their favourite dye plants.
Kitty graduated in 2021, with a BA in Textile Design specialising in woven textiles at Chelsea College Of Art, UAL. In her second year she was nominated and studied at Tama Arts University in Tokyo, Japan. Japan is where she learnt and became fixated with weaving. Since she graduated in July 2022, she has completed a two-month internship for the Liverpool Weaving Company, shadowing how a micro mill is run.
More recently Kitty co-founded Contemporary Hempery, which is a field to fibre fabric project, starting with growing hemp following the granting of a growing license. At CH their ambition is to do this whole project from field to fabric, reintroducing hemp as a sustainable crop in the UK.
The proposed end product is beautifully designed woven hemp regenerative fabric. She wants to elevate hemp fabric to a new level. Colour and pattern have intrigued, inspired and excited Kitty’s life. To her colour is the way we see, respond and interact with the world.
Kitty Thrives on working with colour and pattern, which is consistent through her creations. Sustainability and ethics are consistent focus point of her work, which has resulted this year her creating her own textile garden growing her own fibres and natural dye plants.
We love her special edition creations and hope you will too.
They are now available in our online shop, 2 pairs for £30.
Find Kitty @contemporaryhempery on instagram.
Keep an eye out as we add more colours to the site. There is only one pair of each knicker and they are all size small.
Happy Spring Equinox!
As we move from winter into spring, we reach a special time of year known as the Spring Equinox. It marks the halfway point between the winter and summer solstices. On this day we experience equal amounts of daylight and darkness, and we begin to see signs of new growth and renewal all around us.
We can feel the air warming and light creeping back into our lives and it is pleasant relief. Our energy is returning in a different, more productive and focussed way. The air smells different as the soil and plants stir into life. Now it is believed to be the time to trust in the alchemy of the sun, the soil, water and air to fertilise your creations.
With that in mind we have been busy with a new creation for you... our shibori indigo dyed knickers. All the comfort and softness of our GMD classic knicker dyed with the botanical benefits of Indigo.
Natural indigo dyeing is a process that has been used for centuries to create beautiful, rich blue hues on fabrics. Unlike synthetic dyes, natural indigo is derived from the leaves of the indigo plant (Indigofera tinctoria) which is part of the legume family.
It has been found on the wrappings of mummies in tombs and was used by samurai warriors to dye their undergarments and protect any wounds they gained in battle from infection.
We love Indigo and chose it to dye our knickers for so many reasons…
Natural indigo is a renewable resource that is grown and harvested in many parts of the world. It requires less water than synthetic dyes and does not produce harmful chemicals or by products.
The colour produced by natural indigo dyeing is unique and cannot be replicated by synthetic dyes. The shade of blue varies depending on the fabric, the method of dyeing, and the amount of time the fabric is soaked in the dye.
Indigo natural dye is prized for its medicinal properties. The dye has been used to treat a variety of skin conditions and has also been found to have numerous health benefits particularly for the skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe irritated skin and reduce redness. It also has antibacterial properties that can help fight acne-causing bacteria. Additionally, indigo natural dye is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to aging.
It has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, respiratory problems, and fever. It is also believed to have anti-cancer properties due to its ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
If that wasn’t enough, it has an ability to promote hair growth and prevent premature greying of hair. It is also believed to have a calming effect on the mind and body, making it a popular choice for aromatherapy.
Once you start working with Indigo you can definetly fall in love with it. The beautiful tones of blue you can produce are next to none and you get a real sense of reviving a bit of our history.
You can buy a pair of indigo dyed knickers here.
We believe the smallest of changes can have a positive ripple effect. By infusing our organic textiles with medicinal properties our plant based products can have a naturally good effect on your skin.
Bedstraw + Madder's Co founder Vanessa Barker, recently visited herbal wear founder Sunil Rathod in Andhra Pradesh (India) to learn some new tricks with Ayurvedic natural dyeing.
The results are a sappan wood and madder pink, limited edition version of our new GMD knicker that starts our basket range of limited edition and one-off pieces using natural dyes.
Each item celebrating the power of plant power and craftsmanship. Each piece a unique work of art. Providing you with a completly chemical free experience. Clothing that has a positive effect on the environment and actively revives it. And natural plant pigments that support your body too!
In addition to the pink dye bath Sunil shared a yellow Ayurvedic recipe using ancient wisdom and only natural non toxic ingredients such as Tacoma Flowers and Turmeric.
Try experimenting yourself at home on a pair of our undyed GMD knickers.
Ayurvedic Natural Dye Recipe
250gms of soap nuts
Undyed GMD knickers
3 handfuls of each Tacoma flowers, Kadukai, maribilium, 3 types of turmeric, Tolsi,
1 cup each of Thick leaf lavender and aloe Vera
250 gms of soap nuts added to 5 litres of boiling water. After 30 minutes ash water is added, with no use of alum mordant to fix colour to fabrics.
Pure ash is created from burning any biomass and mixing with water.
To make wood ash water, remove the wood ash from a wood-burning stove, put it in a bucket or large lidded container and fill up with water. Leave the mixture to soak for a minimum of 1 week. By this time the liquid will have become yellow in colour and feel "slick" or slimy to the touch. To use it as an alkaline modifier, remove the liquid without disturbing the ash sediment and soak the materials in it, adding more water as necessary. It is best not to apply heat as this can harm woollen fibres. We filled up a small mason jar 1/3 full with wood ash then filled the jar 2/3 full with water, closed the jar and shook everything up.
Our undyed natural organic cotton, unbleached knickers are then washed with the hot soap nuts solution. This is known as scouring and allows the colour to be absorbed.
Add ingredients Tacoma flowers, Kadukai, maribilium, 3 types of turmeric, Tolsi, Thick leaf lavender and aloe Vera to boiling hot water to create the herbal soup and cook on a stove or open fire for a further 45 minutes, then strain to leave the remaining milky mud coloured residue.
Add our Classic GMD ecru to the brew and continue to heat at temp of about 60 degrees to embue with yellow tones.
You can use string or elastic tied around the knickers in a small bundle to create your own unique patterns.
At Bedstraw + Madder we have a continual love affair with plants and flowers.
Within their often-delicate petals or leaves plants contain hidden powers. The bright coloured pigments are actually made of anthocyanins which have healing antioxidant qualities.
Colour also has a secondary effect which often goes unnoticed but which studies show is very impactful.
Colour therapy is based on the idea that colours create an electrical impulse in our brain, which stimulates hormonal and biochemical processes in our body. These processes either stimulate or calm us.
Colour influences our energy system by its vibrations, affecting both our physical and emotional well-being.
By using the right colours, we can change our negative aspects into positive ones, be healthier, and acquire a higher level of consciousness and connectedness to our body and nature.
Whilst we can change the colours in our interiors with a lick of paint actually the easiest way to change the colours around you is through your clothing.
Our underwear is brightly coloured with natural plant dyes. As the first point of contact to your most intimate areas on a daily basis, sitting against your skin it enables you to absorb the healing qualities of the natural plant dyes we use.
How our new GMD range of underwear may be of benefit?
These sunshine yellow knickers are dyed with Tacoma flowers.
The plant possesses powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial activity due to its content of natural chemicals called flavonoids.
Yellow is associated with the solar plexus chakra which is linked with liver, pancreas, digestive system, gallbladder, empowerment and well-being. The chakra is located between the navel and sternum. Yellow is related to the ego and our sense of self-worth, to how we feel about ourselves and how we are perceived by others.
Our pink knickers are dyed with madder root, a dye that has been used for 2,000 years.
Madder has been used in Traditional Chinese medicine for cold deficiency of spleen and stomach. A powerful anti-inflammatory agent it helps with arthritis, joint pain. Studies show it can raise white blood cell counts in chronic dis-ease. It acts as a good expectorant and is a great skin healer for acne.
Embodying nurturing, unconditional love pink calms and reassures our emotional energies, alleviating feelings of anger, aggression, resentment, abandonment and neglect. Studies have confirmed that exposure to large amounts of pink can have a calming effect on the nerves and create physical weakness in people.
Marigold otherwise known as calendula are used to create our orange knickers.
These flowers promote healing. Due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory activity, it helps heal the skin from minor burns and injuries and regenerates new skin cells. It reduces Inflammation and is a great support in chronic skin disease.
The colour orange relates to 'gut reaction' or our gut instincts and stimulates the appetite. It represents endurance, strength, vitality, celebration, self-respect, abundance, joy, openness to others and enthusiasm for life. It supports our creativity.
Our violet underwear is dyed with the bark of the vembalum tree.
The bark is used for skin diseases as it has anti-allergic properties. Vembalum is also known for its use in the healing of cuts and wounds.
Violet links to the crown chakra and is associated with the brain and pineal gland. It is linked with our higher consciousness and can have a calming effect.
Bring some colour to your life in more ways than one.
Start with one pair of knickers at a time.
Love + Knickers
Prim and Ness