The Craft of Dyeing

It is a truism that the art of using natural resources for dyestuffs has retreated to cottage industry status whilst the manufacture of dyestuffs from chemical sources is the now the norm. That said, there is an awful lot of natural dyeing going on!

The Company is determined to maintain and promote the highest possible standards in research into the technology and techniques of all aspects of dyeing of cloth.

An important step along this road by the Company with the assistance of the University of Leeds and the Society of Dyers & Colourists in Bradford, was the holding of an inaugural 'Colour Conference' at Dyers Hall on October 25th 2005. Entitled "COLOUR IN BRITAIN'S TOMORROW" a full description by the Prime Warden, Michael Bird, DL. is here together with accompanying extracts from the papers presented. The conference was attended by leading figures from industry and academia.

The 2005 conference was followed up by another in 2007 entitled "COLOUR FUTURES" - exploring the future of colour in fashion, textiles and design. We plan to have such conferences bi-ennially if possible to acquaint industry figures with progress and to facilitate and improve links between business and academia. A more detailed report can be viewed here. If you wish to copy and disseminate this more widely, please feel free to do so. We would like to know if you find this useful and a simple email to our Clerk will suffice.

The Company awards its Gold Medal annually to authors of papers of the highest merit which are published in the journal of the Society of Dyers and Colourists (SDC) in Bradford. The Company's close affiliation with the SDC goes back many years through shared membership and commonality of interests. SDC are now held to be an international centre of excellence in resourcing technological and industrial knowledge for both developed and developing countries. Click here for a list of recent medal winners.

The Company is also particularly concerned to ensure a continued stream of able young people interested in learning the art (and science) of colour chemistry. The company therefore also awards bursaries, prizes and scholarships in a number of other, related areas.

  1. The School of Colour Chemistry at Leeds University
  2. City & Guilds of London Institute
  3. The Faculty of Textiles of Heriot-Watt University in Galashiels - previously the Scottish College of Textiles
  4. Royal College of Art
  5. Royal Overseas League

These are connections which have been established for many years. However, from time to time the Company is able to assist initiatives elsewhere to revive or refresh old skills, particularly in the renewed interest in using vegetable dyes. The use of colour as a diagnostic tool in medical and other fields is increasingly common. Indeed, our Research Medal of 1992 was awarded for a paper researching the electronic divergence of colour values to establish a uniform reference point where colour is judged from a computer screen. Recent pictures of the rings of Saturn from the Cassini probe have used colour to distinguish both content and temperature with stunning results!

As we go forward, we confidently expect the above list to expand. However, our focus remains on the promotion of excellence in the craft of dyeing and we are keen not only to maintain standards but also to raise expectations amongst our young people for the future.

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