Jean Beales was born in the UK. She is a qualified Montessori teacher and has run her own private nursery school in Suffolk for 35 years with over 250 children on the register. At the rear of the school she has her “outdoor Classroom” and dye garden and where the children are actively involved in growing a wide range of vegetables, fruit and herbs – organically. In addition she has a small herd of beautiful alpacas and it is here where she endeavours to provide the very best educational opportuities for children and adults to learn about the countryside, and encourage its sustainability, whilst building a love and respect for nature and our planet.
Jean’s mission is to encourage the teaching and preservation of traditional crafts using natural resources.
The alpacas and their fleeces play an important role in many of the craft activities.It is the combination of the fleeces and the natural dyes that are the foundation for her passion for natural dyeing.
Whilst working with the children from the nursery school and Kid’s Club Jean found that many parents and people in the community became very interested in the dyes, the garden, the alpacas and associated crafts such as spinning and felting. This interest evolved into various tours, demonstrations and workshops.
Also the website name – DYEING CRAFTS – with a play on the word dyeing. It became apparent to Jean that there was a huge interest and desire for people to learn skills that were becoming lost in our modern day lifestyle. For this reason she started a Crafty Kid’s Club which is now part of her after school and school holiday programme. The children just love it! Here they learn many traditional skills including, peg loom weaving, knitting, rag rug making, natural dyeing, batik, wet felting and nuno felting.
Jean has many visitors including:
- Local schools
- W.I. Groups
- Youth organisations
- The Rotarians
- Home school groups
- Even some visitors from the Indian Government!
If you would like to book a tour or require further information please contact Jean.
Various workshops are available throughout the year details of which can be found on the workshop page of the website. If you are interested in organising a workshop in addition to the ones listed – again please contact Jean. A minimum of 4 students is required.
Within the grounds of her dye garden Jean works from her studio which is a 30 foot Mongolian Yurt and where she holds her workshops and sells her natural dyes, seeds and fibres.
Jean’s other interests include:
- Organic gardening
- Herbal medicine – Jean grows over 50 medicinal herbs and has a diploma in Herbal Medicine from the Institute of Natural Healing and is a member of The British Herb Society
- A self-sufficient and eco-friendly lifestyle as much as possible
- Jean is a member of The Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers whose objectives are the preservation and improvement of the craftsmanship in hand-weaving, spinning and dyeing for the benefit of the public and the promotion of public education in such craftsmanship.
Jean’s other websites: