27th January 2017
If you’ve been browsing our site, you may have noticed we’ve changed a few things up and had some new branding. Whilst we love our Fleur design which has decorated our pages for the past few years, as we progress through the years and begin to produce more and more William Morris licensed designs, it’s clear the direction our business is heading. We now stock one of the largest ranges of Morris designs in the UK, and are proud our products are still printed and manufactured in the UK- just as Morris did all those years ago.
We’ve mainly used Willow Bough Green, with injections of Eyebright in the page banners because whilst Willow Bough is one of our customers favourite designs, Eyebright deserves to be in the limelight just that little bit more- it really is a beautiful design.
Eyebright was printed using the Indigo-dye technique. It’s a long process, taking three days to prepare and had to be extremely accurate; therefore it was a hugely arduous process and a time consuming way to print. First, the cloth was made a uniform blue colour, dyed all over in an indigo vat, then it was processed with a bleaching reagent which reduced the blue as much as was required for the particular base colour of the design being printed. The next step was to apply mordants onto the bleached parts, then place the immersed fabric in a madder vat to give it the proper tint. The excess colours are then removed, and then the colours are set at boiling point to ensure the colours on the finished fabric won’t run. Finally, the cloth is laid outside- print face up- so the white of the fabric can be purified. We’re pretty exhausted just writing about the process so goodness knows how Morris and his workers felt, however he persevered to get the process just right- a pioneer in this field.
When experimenting with the indigo vat, there are many wonderful stories of his attempts to perfect the system, the Morris Society possesses accounts that his, “hands and arms up to the elbow remained permanently blue” and “I trust i am taking in dyeing at every pore (otherwise than by the skin of my hands, which is certain)” he wrote in a letter to Georgiana Burne- Jones.
Personally, we’re glad he stuck with it, leaving a legacy behind of his beautiful designs- though we know our printers are happy they don’t have to do it all by hand these days!
Have a look at a selection of our Eyebright products; including a customer favourite, the Eyebright long handled zip top bag (which has a handy inner pocket!)