Maybe I'm going going back to some of my early days in college - the color theory days when I loved the gray tones -- I did many studies using gray.
I think my love of gray was drummed out of me after living in the world of Seattle gray for so long. During the dyeing projects I have started to do lately with the jars of commercial dyes have been filled with bright strong colors -- give me a gradation from yellow to orange to red and purple and I'm a pretty happy gal.
My study of plant dyes has opened my eyes again to the more subtle colors of nature. I loved how taking one plant and adding my four mordants many times changed the color into four distinct shades, but if it was the same plant, they all were in the same color family and worked together. I would like to explore this some more, but the kind of weaving I do -- the dyeing I do for my weaving -- depends on being able to dye many colors in the same day.
I love to create gradations of color. I'm just not sure that's possible using plants. I can buy natural dyes/powders from many sources -- probably the only way I can get the red - blue - purple colors I crave -- but is that really any different than buying the jars of commercial powders in an amazing range of colors?
I think for now I'll dye a half a pound or so of the plant dyes that intrigue me and use them in some use-able product like table runners or something and continue to use the commercial colors for my wall hanging art projects, although those wonderful soft neutrals are calling me...