This was my first nettle dyed doll. The green wasn’t supposed to be so intense but it turned out to be a bit of a happy accident. I prefer working with plant dyes, firstly because there isn’t the same toxic stench, or need for rubber gloves that you have with synthetic dye, and the colour is so much softer and it seems to reflect light differently. These nettles were picked from my garden, dried then left to steep in boiling water for a few hours before dipping the doll into the dye bath.
I finished this girl last night. I’ve been carrying her around with me for a few days and now I think she’s finally done. I’m designing my dolls as I make them, rather than drawing or planning them out first. The dyes and the threads and the unexpected shapes made by the grain and the folds of the fabric make most of the design decisions for me. I’m not sure where her rabbit ears came from, they just seemed to make sense. She’s been dyed with indigo and acorns then sewn up with linen. Her ears are made from a tiny scrap of 1940s fabric that I found in an antique suitcase in Ayr in the south west of Scotland. She doesn’t have a name yet, but I’m sure she’ll tell me at some point.