SPAWN Dye Day

September 21, 2009

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The natural dye day for the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network was this Saturday- there was an incredibly interested and positively minded group of fiber artists, ecological restoration folks, a family, and many others with intersecting interests. We used both native species and some less favored invasives- such as the french broom,  pictured above.  The Network restores riparian habitat all along the 9 mile stretch of creek, that is home to the largest remaining coho salmon run in Northern California.  This collaboration between the functional arts, and ecosystem restoration, deepened my already abundant appreciation for the role of the native plants in our community.

IMG_3921This little dye sample, for me, is at the heart of the collaboration.  Elderberries collected for seed propagation for SPAWN’s native plant nursery, left a colorful,  juicy by-product that we used on raw silk samples.

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A Tom’s shoe experiment was tried in the black walnut dye bath.  This is a great dye bath, for a great pair of shoes.  Black walnuts were traditionally used for tattoo material by Native people, and that tradition might soon get rekindled (details in a later blog post on that one).

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The outcome was a nice deep brown.  The colors of the day seemed to celebrate the equinox.

IMG_3919A maple leaf, iron, and black walnut print…  I feel the autumn emerging into view.

IMG_3882Our silk, and wool on display, tied up between the Oak trees.

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I enjoyed watching people go home with native plants for their gardens- a truly heartwarming thrill.  It was so great to see folks inspecting the dyed yarns, saying, ‘look at this sticky monkey flower color- I want that plant!’  And then, taking their new friends home.. where the will have dye material for years and years to come.

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