Rebecca Rigg, the passion of natural dye



Could you please introduce yourself?

I am Becky, from a town south of London, UK

In 2007, I started working in Val d’Isère. It just ignited this passion for the outdoor living and the seasonal life. One day, I heard about Hossegor. I was doing winter seasons in Val d’Isère and then summer seasons here in Hossegor, going back and forth… until I met my partner!

Him being a surfer, we chose living here six years ago. And I stopped doing winter seasons for good!

When and how did you discover natural dye in textile?

My mother is a textile artist so we were exposed to her studio since my sister and I were very young, being that it would be a room in the house.

But my interest for natural dyes, specifically, started back in 2015. One day, we were in my mother’s studio when she gave me an indigo kit. I started playing with it. And I just loved it!

I remember trying things like kitchen food waste, a bit of onion skins and things like turmeric, whatever we'd have at home. It was mind blowing and the outcome was so different every time. So it is just learning constantly!

What is the flower or the foliage that you prefer to work with?

My favorite flower would be marigold. It's quite a popular one but it also yields a beautiful golden yellow, and it's quite an easy and fun thing to dye with.

My favorite extract would be cutch dye. It is the bark of a tree native in South Africa, Australia and there is also quite a few in Asia. It comes in the form of a powder and it gives a gorgeous kind of brown and terracotta caramel. It’s lovely, and it's really rich in natural tanning properties.

(Laurie : the tannery we work with uses this extract for tanning the leather of our sole and liner.).

Can you tell us about the process of natural dying?

For natural dyeing, you can use a variety of dyestuff for example fresh flowers, foliage like Eucalyptus and even herbs. You can also use powdered extracts from whether it be a root, a bark or a mineral. Lastly, there whole dyestuff found in your kitchen waste like onion skins, pomegranate skins, tea! Natural dyes are all around us!

There are various methods of natural dyeing, one of my preferred methods is that of immersion dyeing.

You start by adding your flowers, your foliage, your extracts or food waste directly into a pot. Then, you will fill it with water and heat gently to extract the natural pigment. You then add your fabric into the pot and simmer for a few hours. This is how you create uniform colors.

Or you could use like a resist method where you would fold the fabric and use blocks or manipulate it to make tie dye patterns.

I also use the method of bundle dyeing, also known as eco printing. You lay your fabric out and then you place your plants flowers, leaves, foliage, extracts or food waste directly on the fabric. You roll it up on itself forming a “bundle” then place it in a steamer over hot water for an hour. You use the steam from the boiling water below to extract the natural colour. What’s actually happening is the dyestuff is releasing its natural pigments and staining the fabric, leaving imprints directly on the fabric where each of the ingredients has touched the fabric.

What do you love about Hossegor?

I think Hossegor is what has led to Marram being Marram.

It is getting to work with nature. It's the ocean which is a massive part of our lives. And just the pine forests that run parallel to it. And everything in between.

What is success to you?

Ah that's a good question! I feel that success can show itself in so many different ways.

It could be just getting the color that I want at the end of the day for instance. And that final goal of creating a certain piece.

It could be in terms of some of the projects and the opportunities I've been given, and being able to live off of my brand.

But also just get to be able to work with Nature. I think that would probably sum it up in a roundabout way.

Where do you see the brand going? And what are your future projects?

I love being able to share my knowledge and my studies.

Being able to see the joy that it gives other people is how I had that joy when all those times I've bested it, you know?

S’agissant de mes projets, nous allons commencer une période de l’année assez chargée car c’est bientôt Noël. Nous avons des salons et des événements qui arrivent.

But I'm also got a really exciting project which will come out at the beginning of next year. It is a little bit top secret at the moment, but I’ve some busy next few months!

Photo credit: Marram

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