Revised editions of “Wild Colour”









The UK version of the revised edition of “Wild Colour” is now available and the US version should be available in November. Several people have contacted me with queries about these two editions, wondering whether they are in fact the same and why one edition appears to be more expensive than the other in pounds sterling on Amazon. I thought I would try to clarify matters by explaining that the only real differences between the two editions are in the spellings of words such as “colour/color” and in word usage, such as “clingfilm/saran wrap”. As far as the plant details are concerned, there is a slight slant in emphasis in the first paragraph of the woad pages in the US version, mainly because woad is considered to be a noxious weed in some US states. Apart from that, the text on the other plant pages is virtually the same in both editions, except for some spellings. The bibliography pages in each edition also vary slightly, as the US publishers insisted on including a list of US suppliers, which meant that some titles had to be removed from the US edition’s bibliography to make space for this. I chose not to reduce the bibliography to include suppliers in the UK edition, partly because so many readers will have internet access and it is often more reliable to find suppliers that way, as over the years of a book’s life most lists of suppliers tend to become out of date. Also, because limitations on the space available would have meant that I could only have included some suppliers and not others, I wanted to avoid causing offence to any supplier not included. As far as the dyeing instructions are concerned, they are identical in each version, so it really doesn’t matter which one works from.  Both editions are paperbacks and the front covers also differ slightly. I am disappointed that the words “revised and updated edition” don’t appear on the front cover of the UK version, although they do appear inside.

The reason why the US version costs more in pounds sterling than the UK edition is because the US price is in dollars and has been converted into pounds sterling for sale in the UK. I have no idea why the US version has not been made available on the same date as the UK version. I’m afraid I am merely the author and I have no control whatsoever over such matters.

Some people have also assumed that, as Karen Casselman seems to appear as “co-author” in the Amazon description of the US version, she must have part-written the book, which would make it a different book from the UK edition. This assumption is false. Karen Casselman played no part in this revised edition of “Wild Colour” but the US publishers insisted her name should remain on the cover of the US edition, probably because she was the “consultant” on the first edition of the book. The US publishers of this first edition insisted that there should be a known N. American “name” associated with the book,  because they feared that otherwise “Wild Color” might not sell in the US, as my name would probably not be known to US dyers. Apart from providing the “name”, Karen Casselman’s role was to advise on matters specific to N. America, such as where in N. America certain plants might be located and whether there were restrictions on growing certain plants in some US states. The text of all editions of “Wild Colour/Wild Color” has always been mine and mine alone, so any errors are solely mine and not the responsibility of anyone else.

Perhaps I should also add a few words here about how and why the revisions were made. When the publishers told me they were prepared to reprint “Wild Colour”, I would have been happy for the text to have remained unchanged as, to my knowledge, it did not contain any errors or any out-of-date information. However, the publishers would only reprint if I made changes to 30% of the book’s text pages. These changes could be small (eg to only one word or sentence on a page) or could include larger changes, such as revisions to several paragraphs. But whatever changes I made, they had to fit into the text areas as already established around the colour sections and photos, because none of the existing colour sections could be moved or changed.  I was also not allowed to add any further pages, so I couldn’t add any more plants or techniques, which would probably have been my chosen way of revising the book. It was also not possible to add plants or techniques by replacing existing ones, as the added ones would not fit with the existing colour photos, which could not be changed. Text could only be added in any spaces at the top of pages above photos, as in the green boxes added on pages 39, 41, 55 and 57, or on pages where the text did not run to the bottom of the page. Otherwise, revising meant painstaking juggling of words, so as to retain the same number of letters + spaces while also making changes, such as in the changes made to some of the indigo and woad dyeing methods. Readers familiar with both editions of “Wild Colour” may find it difficult to locate the revisions, because at first glance the books appear so similar, but changes actually occur on pages: 15, 25, 30-31, 36-37, 38-39, 40-41, 44-45, 46, 49, 52, 54-55, 56-57, 58, 69, 74, 78, 83, 94, 98-99, 100-101, 102, 105, 110, 114-115, 119, 120, 125, 133, 139, 140-144

I hope all these comments help to clarify matters.

16 replies
  1. Marian
    Marian says:

    that is a lot of work for the “same” book! I say with all those other plants and techniques that you couldn’t add, you write another book! 🙂
    Your book is the best handbook I have when it comes to natural dyeing. So easy to follow and effective every time! I will always be grateful to you for sharing your vast knowledge!

  2. Anne
    Anne says:

    Thanks so much for sorting the confusion out. I have already received my new copy but thought I might have been missing out if the other book was different 😉

    I am so enjoying reading it and am fired up to do more dyeing

  3. Dot
    Dot says:

    I am amazed to learn about the requirement that you make changes to 30% of the pages! I can’t see what is achieved by this “revision”.

    However, I am delighted with my book and interested to learn more about the writing and publishing of it.

    • Jenny Dean
      Jenny Dean says:

      Although much of the book remains unchanged, I was at least able to add some recipes on the woad, indigo & madder pages and also to the mordanting pages. It was just good luck that there was enough empty space on these pages to allow for this!

  4. susan czernicka
    susan czernicka says:

    I sometimes order from Amazon UK

    If I don’t mind the language differences and units of measure differences etc, any reason not to get the UK edition now?

    • Jenny Dean
      Jenny Dean says:

      Hi Susan
      I can see no reason why you shouldn’t buy the UK edition of “Wild Colour”. The differences between the two editions are as I described in this post, so the dyeing information is exactly the same in each. All the measurements are given in both metric & Imperial in both editions.

  5. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    I have your original book and treasure it greatly. It is so jammed packed with good information. I am so happy to be able to let people know that they can now purchase the book once again. Although i must say i like the other dye books you have also had printed while Wild Colour was out of print.

  6. Benita
    Benita says:

    I am so happy that this is finally coming out. I always use your book as the perfect beginner’s book because you explain things so well, and the pictures are wonderful. Glad to see they don’t have to scour eBay to get it now.

  7. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    So glad that this is back in print, Jenny. It will be great to be able to recommend Wild Colour rather than just waxing lyrical about it then telling people it’s out of print! (And I can now return our Guild library copy that I’ve had on loan for as long as I can remember!). Debbie x

  8. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    Oh my Jenny, I am still LOL at the absurdity of the US publishers thinking your book might not sell in the US. I must apologize for their ignorance and stupidity. Two of my friends who are authors said it is a wonder anyone tries to get a book published in the US.


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