A Dyers Manual - contents includes Fibres, Mordants, Dyeing with weeds, Dyes from the garden, Test Dyeing, Indigo, Woad, Weld, Madder, Lichens, Ancient Dyes

The Author

Jill Goodwin

1917 - 2013



Jill Goodwin, the author of 'A Dyers Manual'

photograph by Adam Goodwin 2003


Jill Goodwin (neť Slater) was born in West Suffolk in 1917, the descendant of a long line of farmers, famous for their livestock since the eighteenth century.  Inspired as a young child by the rich colours of the Saxon and Medieval period in her history books she began experimenting at the age of six with damson plums in her fatherís old tobacco tins, dipping in wool she had gathered from fences round the farm.


In 1939 at the outbreak of the Second World War she was given a spinning wheel, taught herself to spin, and made socks and jerseys for the family. She attended the East Anglian  Institute of Agriculture (now Writtle College) where her interest in plants and their properties was encouraged by her botany tutor, and this interest and enthusiasm has been maintained all her life.


She met Lewis Goodwin, an Essex farmerís son, at college and after the war they moved to the family farm in Essex where they raised seven children.  Lewis, always a great support, died in 1995.


Spinning, dyeing and weaving continued throughout Jillís child rearing years along with rug making, corn dollies, baskets from willows, rushwork and the busy life of being a farmerís wife.  By the end of the 1970s her dye notebooks were overflowing and this book is a result.  Not written as a textbook, but as an enthusiastic sharing of her knowledge and a mine of information for experimental dyers, with snippets of her philosophy on life.


Jill has featured in a number of magazine articles and television programmes, provided naturally dyed wool samples for the restoration of the Bayeux Tapestry, and was known to many people around the world as a source of knowledge and encouragement. She had been a founder member of the mid-Essex Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers and continued spinning until she was 94 years. Her boundless enthusiasm, considerable wisdom and great generosity have left a lasting legacy.


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