Dye Day at Berkeley Botanic Garden
March 31, 2010
The temperature was perfect, the sun just right, sweet smelling toyon, coffeeberry, and coyote brush dye vats wafted into the afternoon air. The thick smell of black walnuts (which have been soaking since last fall), did overpower the senses a bit– an aroma that crosses somewhere between old seaweed, and a compost pile. It is actually a nice smell– very earthy, just a bit pungent.
The group of 17 women coalesced creatively amongst the native plant colors– and the blues of the fermenting indigo vat. The participants level of expertise within this field spanned from commercial textile designers–natural paint makers–scientific illustrators–to professional felters. I was so inspired, and grateful for the advanced level of awareness that was brought to this workshop. We could have spent at least two days simply networking and weaving our skill base together, to bring forth a natural color and fiber revolution.
Samples were a challenge to extract, with so many floating and submerged within the pots. There are always a few little pieces that show up at the end of the day, as I’m cleaning and re-pouring the dyes.
Thank you Berkeley.. The biological diversity of the garden was deeply reflected in the diversity of talent, capacity for understanding, and depth of interest of all those who came. I enjoyed myself so much- and am excited for our future collaborations.