Update on The Book – The Art and Science of Natural Dye

Yesterday I received a phone call from Schiffer Publications – the publisher of Joy’s and my upcoming natural dye book. 

I am sorry to report that the release date, originally projected for the end of October, has been delayed until late January.

Why the delay? 

Schiffer is taking great pains to be sure that all color reproduction is exact and precise. The book is illustrated with photos of actual samples from my dye tests. Our goal was to share some of the hundreds of samples that I have done, comparing the use of different mordants, tannins, dye treatments, times in the dyebath, etc. Many of the variations are subtle – but the differences are important.

Careful color adjustments have been made to the digital images in Art & Science of Natural Dye to ensure that the dye colors  reproduce as accurately as possible through  the print process. Color proofs are  reviewed and compared to the actual dye samples as part of this process.

Yes, it will be delayed, but the color will be the best possible printed reproduction and I’m very happy about that. It’s good to be working with a publisher that really cares about these “small” details – they are really not small at all. Below is just a small hint of what will be included. 

I know that many of you have pre-ordered the book and are anxiously awaiting it. Joy and I  appreciate the vote of confidence and are sorry for the delay.

I can suggest a great thing to do while you’re waiting: 

Yesterday, on a long drive back home from New England, I finally had the chance to listen to a lecture given by Michel Garcia and available as a Maiwa Podcast. It’s title is Field Notes in the Color Garden, parts 1 & 2. It’s a long, wonderful, rambling lecture that Michel gave in 2015 and Maiwa uploaded as a podcast this year.  It has given me much to think about in regards to dye plants, resource books, investigation, and the human scale of natural dye. 

And keep dyeing!

It’s still less than a year since Joy and I turned in the manuscript and images to the publisher. My learning has not stopped and once the book is released, I look forward to sharing some of the things I’ve continued to work on and learn about since we sent the manuscript away.  “Stay tuned”.


20 thoughts on “Update on The Book – The Art and Science of Natural Dye

  1. Thank you! I know i left a comment earlier, and thought Amazon was playing havoc, so thank you for the explanation. Waiting waiting waiting 🙂

  2. Hi Catharine, thanks for giving us an update about the publication of your book. I am so excited that I actually pre-ordered the book twice to ensure I get a copy asap! However, thank you, Joy and the publisher for taking this extra time to ensure that the colour reproductions will be correct, as this is so important for the subtle but important colour differences in your experiments and work. I have been telling all my students that when your book comes out it will be the new “Bible” for natural dyers, to just wait patiently for it to arrive, and not to waste their money on the plethora of ‘natural dye’ books which have beautifully styled photos but no real scientific information or experimentation in them, or the rigorous hard work I know that you and Joy have put into this one. Roll on January….

  3. Thank you Catharine for the delivery update on your Dyeing book. I was looking forward to receiving the book in October & now will look forward to receiving in January.

  4. Thank you Catharine for your explanation about details of delivery on your most recent book. Will look forward to receiving in January 2019.

  5. We are so lucky to have Schiffer as a publisher of fine Fiber Arts books. It will certainly be worth waiting for as they do a great job of getting it done right. It will become a classic in no time!

  6. Thank you for the update. I anxiously awake, but glad they are going the extra mile! Keep on keeping us posted. Rawna

    Sent from my iPad


  7. Robin Wall Kimmerer writes of how beautiful goldenrod and asters are together in her book Braiding Sweetgrass. The very last goldenrod flowers are scattered amongst the frost-changed fall flowers around here. I brought home a small bouquet from yesterday’s walk for today’s dyepot.

  8. I’m sad that I won’t be getting your book soon but glad the publisher is taking the time to get it right! I wasn’t able to attend your class or lecture at Maiwa recently so the book will be my compensation. Thanks for letting us know the reason for the delay anyhow.

  9. I have a question about something that is puzzling me: on page 31 you mention that cream of tartar and citric acid should not be used on mordanted celluloseas it will result in a lighter colour–does this apply ONLY to the cochineal, or to other dyes as well? Might be a dumb question, but out of context, could be confusing for some!

  10. Cochineal is the only dye that one might be tempted to add these ingredient in the dyebath. BUT it would hold true for any dye, if one was so inclined. Some dyers had been telling me cochineal could not be used on cotton. I was mystified as I have gotten wonderful results – UNTIL I observed how dyers in Mexico ALWAYS add lime juice to a cochineal dyebath. That would explain why they never got good results with cotton. Thanks for the question. It’s a good one.

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