Fran Rushworth of Wool - Tribulations of Hand Spinning and Herbal Dyeing has sent me a copy of this wonderful calendar for review.
She has been learning about plant growing and dyeing by trial and error for some years and blogging about her successes and failures on her website. With this calendar, she aims to create what she would have wished for when she started out.
The first thing to say is that Fran has made the copies of this calendar herself. I don't mean that she's sent her photographs to the printers and chosen a boilerplate layout. She has actually printed*, spiral bound and hole punched it all herself. This, along with her choice of a good matt paper rather than gloss, gives the calendar a 'homespun' look, which is appealing and in keeping with the subject. Personally, I think I'd like to have seen glossy card used on the front cover, for a slightly more polished look. But the paper is good quality heavy stuff and the matt finish works really well for the rest of the content, for reasons that I'm about to move onto.
The second important thing to say about this is that far from being a dozen nice glossy pictures to hang on your wall, which is what I'd imagined when Fran told me that she was producing a calendar, she's written what amounts to an instructional booklet.
If you follow the succinct instructions that are revealed each month, you'll learn a lot about natural dyeing and have fun along the way. projects include bark, leaves & flowers, galls & acorns, solar dyeing, contact printing. Sowing, planting out and harvesting are covered at the appropriate times. It has as much to do with experimentation as how to get the perfect result. At the front is a page of suggestions, things to buy, things to save, things to gather in preparation for your journey.
Oh yes - it's also a calendar.... a month filling half of the A3 spread means that there's room to write important notes about those important dates.
The calendar is available for £7.50 plus p&p. For no extra charge, you can have a personal greeting printed on the back, conveyed by Fran's companion, Elinor Gotland.
More shots and information about how to grab yourself a copy of this original and appealing item are here.
* Update, 15 Nov. Because of a surprising response to her initial blog post, Fran has had to ask a local print shop to help with the actual printing of the pages, using the same weight paper that she had already been using. She's still putting the calendar together herself.