My name is Gabriella Weatherhead and I am the founder of Leaf Alkemy.
I create original and unique pieces from my workshop in the beautiful countryside of Antrim, Northern Ireland.
This idea and venture springs from my lifelong passion and interest in plants and their manifold uses as food, medicine, fiber and colour for fabrics.
I was inspired and learned on my journey of discoveries about different dyeing and botanical printing techniques by wonderful artists such as Irit Dulman - iritdulman.com who's Monochromatic Botanical Print workshop I attended, and India Flint - indiaflint.com, Jenny Dean - jennydean.co.uk, and many others.
I am fascinated by the almost endless possibilities and variations of colour to be had from plants which surround us and also by their use in centuries past, from the rich reds and purples which was the privilege of kings and queens and the powerful of the land to the many earthy shades worn by the common folk .
Every item I make requires a lengthy process to arrive at the final beautiful piece, from scouring and mordanting the fabric to ready it for receiving the dye, preparing the dyes, the dyeing process, gathering plants for printing, bundling the fabrics with the leaves and steaming to finally reveal the surprise as you never quite know what you will get. It is not an exact science, there are many variables, a plant will yield different colours in different seasons, or growing conditions, the water can affect the outcome, and so on.
Each piece is one of a kind, and I only create a limited number of items as I work on my own with traditional, slow methods.
It is an alchemy of sorts, the process of transformation of plants into something you can wear, which reflects the nature around us and makes it a part of us. It is also a renewable resource which does not harm the environment.
The more exotic plant dyes are sourced from suppliers who work with equitable organisations which support sustainable farming and working conditions.
I really hope you will find something here to inspire you.