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What can we learn from historical processes and reconstruction when starting literally from the ground? What added benefits can growing your own dye plants and fibres bring to research? How is this done?

As part of the experimental work done in the Refashioning the Renaissance project, we have set up a greenhouse in the Aalto University premises in Otaniemi. This 8,9 m² greenhouse allows us to to test grow plants and study the process of sowing, cultivating, harvesting and processing. During the first year, we tested with different dye plants such as Woad, Madder, Dyer’s Broom, St John’s Wort, and Safflower, and plants used for stain removing such as Soapwort and Purslane. We hit some unexpected problems, such as an invasion of moles that ate many of our seedlings, but we were able to harvest woad and test forming them into dried balls for later use.