Colors of a Natural Childhood
August 8, 2009
This young man is four years old, and dressed to ‘be a super-hero that saves the earth,’ as stated during a free-play session on the native red fescue lawn. He has spent his week making wild weed paper, adobe houses, gathering found objects, listening to stories about how things came to be, and making his own natural dyes. His color choice for the above shirt and ‘wild flower cape’ came from the bark and shavings of the Indios peoples logwood project. He also pounded cosmos flowers into his up-cycled cotton T, for a lovely floral pattern.
The dye vats began cooking here, in this large pot. The little man in the picture is three, and enjoyed stirring this pot immensely. When his turn was over, he graciously passed the stick to the next in line.
We also prepared a tickseed coreopsis vat in a big glass jar. This jar was on its way outside for a solar cook. Dyes can be simply made with water, flowers, and the suns rays. Although, we were at the absolute edge of the bay, looking out onto the Golden Gate Bridge, a well-known marine fog layer came to visit us each morning. We still seemed to get just enough rays to cook our goods.
The calming effect of natural dyes is well known by those that make and wear them. I see children enchanted by the colors of the bark, and flowers, and often their demeanor, sense of well-being, and inner peace emerges from the busyness of the activity, as they put on their hand-dyed clothes, and tie their scarves around their bodies to make capes, and costumes.