Natural Dye Workshops and Display, 2015

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Sacred Geometry Tapestries on display in the Mediterranean, Tropical, and Desert Houses made using natural, plant-based dyes in community workshops.

The free natural dye workshop series ran in July during the Druid Hill Farmers Market. Wax & Wane Fiber ran free hands-on classes, and taught the use of plant-based pigments to make fabric art. Participants worked on large-scale tapestries in collaboration with artists. 

Acacia catechu – Cutch was first popularized in India in the district of Gujarat. The city that was known for producing the most cutch dyed work was actually named Kutch. Cutch was used to produce khaki which was used in military uniforms for the region. The tapestry is made by painting a soda ash wash over the cutch dyed fabric to change the color from a light brown to a rose red.

Rubia tinctorium– Madder is theorized as the most likely dye used for the British red coats. This dye stuff is one of the most versatile in the natural world depending on what chemical you pull from the plant you can get browns, purples, and varying tones of red & orange. The madder roots, where the dye is present, can take up to three years to produce enough pigment to use.  The tapestry is made by painting rusty water over the madder dyed fabric to sadden and darken the areas of the design.

Indigofera tinctoria – Indigo is one of the most well known natural dyes – it was the original dye used to color denim (blue jeans). It is found worldwide and has created many economies in its time. Indigo has been found on mummies from ancient Egypt and has caused rebellions in India. Blue is one of the hardest colors to gain from the natural world, so indigo has been a hot commodity since its discovery. We will be using methods of fabric binding to make marks on our fabric.

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