Once upon a time I was a floral designer who adored flowers and made a lot of pretty botanical bouquets for brides. One day, frustrated at the quality, sustainability and colours of ribbons available locally, I decided to make some of my own and stumbled upon the art of natural dyeing on silk. Magic happened! Discovering that such beautiful colour could come from things already in my kitchen, or from plants and soil and wood pulp, was like stumbling across a kind of alchemy.
I experimented for a long time, using my training as a painter as I learned how to mix and layer dyes rather like watercolours. One day a friend suggested that I might try selling some and before too long I was making so much ribbon that the floral design business, to my surprise and delight, became a ribbon company.
Today I continue to play and experiment with colour every chance I get; always thrilled with each new magical discovery.
I’m so very grateful that I’m able to make my living this way.
After over 18,000 sales and thousands of five star reviews on Etsy, my business continues to grow here in its own little online home.
This is a labour of love.
Every length of ribbon, dinner napkin and table runner is made by hand in small batches in my studio. I use only natural fibres and dyes, derived from the leaves and roots of plants and from the soil and source all of my supplies as much as possible from companies that also have eco-friendly practices.
Natural dye makes each piece unique.While I use recipes and repeat colours that you see on the site, the nature of natural and hand dyeing is that each batch is its own little work of art in colour. Please bear this in mind when ordering - if you would prefer a set that is almost an exact colour match it's best to over estimate what you need so that you don't run out at the last minute and have to rush order a little more that may not match well with your first batch. If you need any help at all with estimates, please don't hesitate to ask!
Susanna, owner of Nettle & Silk
photo by Kris LeBoeuf
After a classical arts education at The Academy of Art in San Francisco and nearly two decades in the animation industry, I started my own floral design company in a converted 1965 travel trailer called Amelie in Portland, Oregon in 2014, specialising in wild, unstructured and naturalistic work.
Today I split my time between my studios in Portland, Oregon and Sussex, England. If I'm really lucky I also get to travel a few times a year and teach natural dye workshops to other people around the world.