Natural Dyes with Mimi and California Country Magazine…

It is nice to be connected with people who promote my photography, since I don’t do a good job of promoting myself. Ever since I returned from London, I have been meaning to take my portfolio around to magazines in the area, but I just haven’t gotten to it yet.

But luckily, Mimi, my soon-to-be-mother-in-law, is an amazing person with a wonderful lifestyle that magazines want to write about. So when Brandon, from California Country Magazine, called her and said they wanted to do a story about her and her natural dying process, she said, “I have just the photographer for you.”

It was so fun to have a taste of what real magazine work, and budgets, are like. The magazine gave me a shot list and an exact number of photos that they wanted… and when Brandon asked me if I would be “ok” with their day rate… I had to try and remain cool and not act surprised…. yeah, I guess that’ll do.

These are just some of my favorites from the day and what I learned about natural dying…

First… collect your plant material… Mimi uses black walnuts, dahlias, onion skins, marigolds and tansy (shown below.)

Here is a super simplified instruction list for making your own natural dyes:

Put your material in your pot…

bring it to boil…

cook for an hour…

strain it…

let it cool…

add a mordant (Mimi uses nontoxic mordants like alum and cream of tarter)…

add your pre-soaked wool…

bring to boil again…

cook for an hour…

cool in dye…

rinse until water runs clear…

and hang to dry.

Thanks to: Mimi for promoting me, and to California Country Magazine for giving me the opportunity to work on this project. I hope it is just the beginning of my magazine assignments.

You can buy Mimi’s beautiful natural dyed wool at the Pt. Reyes Farmers’ Market in front of Toby’s Feed Barn on Saturdays, or she will soon be at the Marin Civic Center Farmers’ Market on Sundays.

About the author paige green

Paige Green is a documentary and portrait photographer, whose storytelling approach to photography frequently addresses issues involving agriculture, land use, and food. Her work is featured in nine books and has been published in Glamour, National Geographic Traveler, New York Times Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Country Living, House Beautiful, and Culture. Paige lives in Petaluma, CA with a house full of boys.

All posts by paige green →


  1. I like the plant and wool side by side shots alot.


  2. wow, Paige. Those are fantastic. What a cool life you have. miss you.


  3. yeah. super cool the dye next to the thing that dyed it that way. you are awesome. mimi rules too!


  4. Paige,
    I love all of these photos, but the curious goats are especially charming.


  5. Frederique Lavoipierre November 7, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Paige,
    I was looking online for Mimi’s phone number, as I am at school right now, and came across your lovely photos of one of my favorite people! Nice shots of the finished wool with the dye material too.


  6. […] 2008 by beesybeefiber Here is some of my yarn This skein was spun with Lincoln that I got from Mimi Lueberman in Chileno Valley. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Free the Fug!Smithsonian Plans […]


  7. Mimi is for sure Aaron’s mom…I see so much of him in her. This was such an interesting post the yarns are stunning!

    xoxo, Terri


  8. […] 150 miles of her home in Marin County. For this project, Rebecca is working with farmers, like Mimi Luebbermann at Windrush Farm, artists, like Heidi Iverson, fashion design students and local businesses… […]


  9. Beautiful beautiful post AND your photos!
    Thank you for sharing!


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