Deep in the grasp of COVID, I was going completely stir-crazy. I decided to wander my woods and the adjacent nature preserve to keep my head clear, and to get exercise. I was wandering the woods one day in August 2021 and looking for oak galls for my Weird Roman Remedies project, when I found a strange oak gall that stained my thumb red when I scratched it. Nearby, I saw a cute purple mushroom and wondered what it was… these 2 items led me deep down a rabbithole of natural dyes, and thus the Colors of Stonemarche project was born! I gathered wild, natural dye items from approximately 60 acres of New Hampshire woods and other places I found myself wandering.
I have divided these dye sources into Period and Plausibly Period categories. The Period category consists of dyes that are directly documented in pre-1600 European-contact usage, and a few dyes that I discuss and show that evidence exists to include in the Period category. Plausibly Period consists of dyes that are not recorded in period recipes or noted in extant textiles, but that were potentially used as dye sources. These natural dye sources include trees, plants, lichens, and fungi.
This project is very much a journey of discovery and has given me a great deal of joy. I am excited to share this project with the East, and hopefully inspire others to find how beautiful the Colors of Stonemarche, and the East, can be.