Vedrana Peček, cloth dye maker

01- Vedrana Peček (13)

Vedrana is a cloth dye maker with a Master's degree in Textile Technology Engineering. Her work is dedicated to the sustainable production of natural dyes, inks and pigments as well as the dyeing of natural fabrics. Apart from foraging plants from nature, she cultivates dye plants and other crops required for production in her own garden. She hosts different workshops and courses aimed at educating and promoting sustainable production within the fashion industry with a particular interest in exploring material properties of various plant colorants.

Name of Craft in the local language
Bojadisanje
Type of Craft
Natural fabric dyeing, natural dyes, colours generated from natural sources (plants), production of pigments and inks, education and promotion of sustainable production, sustainable textile dyeing workshops and courses
Knowledge Holder
Vedrana Peček
Location, Website
Grančarska 22, 10257 Brezovica, Croatia
Contact
vedranapeek@yahoo.com, +38599344664
Type of Business
Newly founded
Year of Establishment
2019
Successors
No

Workshop and sales space
Home workshop, 233-square-meter home garden, fieldwork: foraging and collecting plant-based resources, advertising and sales on social networks, laboratory at the Faculty of Textile Technology
Materials
Local plants (barks, roots, berries, leaves, wood), Natural dyes (pigments, inks), mordants (alum, ferrous sulfate), fabrics (silk, cotton, linen)
Technology / Tools / Machines
Industrial, self-made and self-adjusted tools for soaking and cooking, inox dishes, bamboo boxes, wooden spoons, spectrophotometer (instrument that measures the amount of photons), Xenotest, Polycolor Mathis
Techniques / Processes
Cultivating, foraging and drying plants, cleaning, cooking and preparation of fibre/cloth/textile, cutting, pressing preceded by natural dye making / natural dyeing from food and foraged plants (natural dyeing methods: ice dye, bundle dye), preparation of mordant and other fixers for improving the stability of natural colour, extracting natural colours from their sources; aqueous extraction: simmering, soaking until the colour solution reaches its peak and stabilizes; fibre dying, curing (to ensure the colour pigment binding) and rinsing
Members / Employees
1
Apprentices
n/a
Education of the Craftsperson
Faculty of Textile Technology in Zagreb, Graduate University studies in Textile and Fashion Design, Master's Degree

Best-selling product
Silk scarves; natural plant dyes (pigments, inks)
Average time of production
Depending on the material, natural dying takes from a few hours to two or three days
Average price per item
30 EUR

Vedrana’s plant-dyed fabrics were donated to the Public Libraries Quilts collection and used as a part of the quilt fundraiser. The digital colour swatch created as part of her final thesis at university, featuring natural dyes, has been included in the collective scientific paper RuColor and presented at The International Conference of the Colour Society of Russia.

Vedrana is a cloth dye maker with a Master’s degree in textile technology engineering. She has been making sustainable natural dyes and dyeing natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, and silk since 2019.

Natural dyes are colors derived from natural sources, consisting of complex mixtures from extracted substances. Dyeing is a technique for applying colors to textile fabrics, making them resistant to external influences. Protein fibers like silk and wool absorb natural dyes more efficiently than cellulose fabrics such as flax and hemp. Natural dyes are eco-friendly, renewable, and biodegradable colorants that enhance the functional properties of materials and expand their potential uses. They are gentle on the skin and may offer health benefits to wearers.

Vedrana’s selection of dyes changes with the seasons. Her production process is circular—dye plants are grown in her garden or foraged from nearby forests and are returned to the earth or converted into compost after use.

In addition to collaborating with various fashion designers and florist shops and participating in exhibitions in Croatia and Slovenia, Vedrana regularly holds dyeing workshops. She is a promoter and educator of sustainable and handmade production and fashion.

  • 01- Vedrana Peček (14)
  • 01- Vedrana Peček (1)

Vedrana’s home doubles as her dyeing workshop, where she dries the foraged and cultivated dye plants in her room, cooks the fabrics in the kitchen, and rinses them in the bathroom. She sources her natural dyes from a variety of places, including the flowers, leaves, and bark of plants grown in her own garden or foraged from a nearby forest in Brezovica.

Central to Vedrana’s craft are goldenrod and birch, each requiring a unique process to intensify their hues. Goldenrod, considered an invasive species, yields a yellow tone that, when combined with ferrous sulfate, transitions into a dark green. Birch bark, gathered from fallen trees, produces a pinkish-grey shade.

The measurements and material testing—such as wash and light fastness, UPF rating, and UVA and UVB light protection—for the final product are conducted in the laboratory of the Faculty of Textile Technology.

Bundle dye workshops are hosted either at Vedrana’s home or at other associated venues, including the Zelenica Cooperative, Vestigium Association, and Koraljka Kovač Studio, with the inaugural workshop taking place at the premises of the Zelenica Cooperative.

Vedrana’s dyeing process begins with collecting and drying plants before grinding them. She uses the traditional aqueous extraction method, soaking materials in cold water with possible additives—salt, acid, alkali, or alcohol—and then heating them to the correct temperature. This depends on the material’s characteristics, with careful monitoring of water temperature and duration critical to avoid unintended colour changes, such as longwood turning brown from blue or purple if overstepped.

Preparing the fabric involves soaking it in a mordant solution, usually containing non-toxic agents like alum or ferrous sulfate, to set the dye. The dye bath contains dissolved dyes and agents in water. Prepared fabric is submerged, absorbing the dye quickly, and remains in the bath for hours to days for desired colour intensity, with continuous stirring to ensure even colouring. Afterward, the fabric is rinsed and dried.

Colour adjustments can be made post-process; for instance, immersing in ferrous sulfate alters the hues of certain dyes. Vedrana experiments with bundle and ice dyeing too. Bundle dyeing is quick, using silk, plants, water, and vinegar, suited for workshops. Ice dyeing reuses dye solution frozen into cubes for unpredictable colours on silk. Final fabric colours depend on various factors, including fibre type, dye density, plant type, environmental conditions, and exposure to elements.

  • 01- Vedrana Peček (7)
  • 01- Vedrana Peček (23)

Vedrana crafts and markets natural pigments and inks derived from a diverse array of sources, including oak and chestnut cones, wine dregs, turmeric, lady’s mantle, carbonized branches or bones, as well as red cabbage, grapes, dyer’s woad, and cochineal. Additionally, she offers hand-dyed silk scarves.

She has also designed a DIY dyeing kit with instructions. The kit includes silk scarves pre-treated with alum, packages of dried herbs (both foraged and grown in her garden), and bottles of various dye extracts such as pomegranate, walnut, and dyer’s woad.

Further expanding her vision, Vedrana plans to convert her stable and garden into a studio/workshop. This space aims to become a hub for collaboration with partners and interested audiences, facilitating dyeing workshops and promoting a sustainable lifestyle.

  • 01- Vedrana Peček (9)
  • 01- Vedrana Peček (4)