THE BIG IDEA: My big idea is to have a natural dye studio utilizing local botanical dye plants and common things most people might discard, rusted and old metals for instance can create surprising patterns, hues, and designs. Onion skins, considered to be obsolete impart golden hues. Grape must from wine making can create beautiful magentas and deep purples. In other words, everything can be recycled and reused, supporting local businesses by utilizing their waste. Other dye stuffs can be grown in my personal garden and foraged sustainably from the local habitat as indigenous people did.. All leftover leaf matter can be composted making this business idea nearly, if not completely, waste free. My idea not only includes creating wearable art or dyeing fabric for other textile designers but extends to sharing this with the community through workshops, providing education on sustainable foraging and natural history. Something I consider to be very important as well is introspection through nature and healing through art. I feel it is of utmost importance to honor and connect to our deepest selves and place. I believe combining nature and the process based art of natural dyeing to be extremely healing for myself and others.
HOW IS IT PERSONALLY FULFILLING: Being in this process based art of natural dyeing reminds me of a moving meditation. Every action is done with intention and conscientious thought. Plants and fungi from our surroundings have so much to teach us if we listen, and in turn, we help the forest grow. Being in nature always grounds me, gives me strength, makes me believe in magic, and reminds me of that childlike radiance that can so often be forgotten. Unwrapping a piece is always a surprise – a beauty to look forward to. And special moments like foraging sumac and being surrounded by a family of deer! Sharing this passion and these teachings within the community would probably be an even bigger gift than I can imagine. To further illustrate my passion I would like to share this poem by textile artist, India Flint:
Intimate responses to locality
Within the immensities of landscape
Working in place
Under the open sky
Drawing on country
Rearranging the found as locational landmarks
Or poetry of and for this place
Gentle interventions and encounters
Beginning and ending with walking
Ephemeral and largely impermanent
HOW DOES IT MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY: I think there are more than a few ways my idea can benefit the community. First, I think it would support local businesses by utilizing their waste as dye matter or purchasing material from local sources. Also benefiting community would be the hands-on workshops and classes exploring the craft-learning from the local habitat and healing through art. I think it is important as well to bring to light the small choices we make that can have a big impact in our world. A small part of that is what you choose to put on your body. So many of the clothes that we buy are made in sweatshops or factories using chemicals, synthetic fibers and dyes, without sustainable practices and no thought of the ecological impact. I want to give a story with each piece that I handcraft that would illustrate “slow fashion” and conscientious and sustainable thought. Intentional choice. And last, but not least, is the fact that I feel my passion and perspective of the natural world is unique and important and worth sharing, benefiting those around me.
WHAT WOULD BE PHASE I OF YOUR BUSINESS PLAN, GETTING IF OFF THE GROUND: Tools, gaining knowledge, and practicing the craft of dyeing and eco-printing. I am in the beginning stages and there is a lot of technical stuff I still need to learn (like chemistry, LOL), and obtaining the tools needed. It also includes determining interest levels within the community and establishing working relationships with local businesses and community members.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION OF PHASE II AS YOU MOVE IT AHEAD: It’s a vision that is still very young and evolving daily. Right now it looks like this to me: Creating an on-line presence to gain interest and perhaps an on-line shop; contacting local businesses in regards to selling my wares (I’ve already had offers!); beginning to do workshops; and perhaps finding studio space suitable for those workshops and growing production. It looks like more time at the studio and less time at my real job!
HOW WILL YOU SPEND THE $500: Tools: vessels (copper, brass, aluminum, stainless steel, iron) which all provide different color responses. Cellulose and protein fabrics from sustainable sources (hemp, cotton, silk, ramie, wool, cashmere and linen). Mordants, ie iron oxide, vinegar, soy. Workshops/webinars: One upcoming with Nicola Brown, a six week webinar on dyeing and eco-printing cellulose fabrics.
WHEN DO YOU THINK THIS THING WILL LAUNCH: Immediately! Having the proper tools and opportunities to learn would help me immensely as well as give me inspiration to keep working and make this idea come to life.
HOW CAN WE, THE AUDIENCE, GET INVOLVED OR SHOW SUPPORT: Support through donation of supplies, for example, vegetable waste, flowers (dried, frozen or fresh), scraps of rusted metal and natural fabrics. It would also be helpful to find a place to live and have a studio space at the same time so leads for that would be wonderful. Also, meeting people in the community knowledgeable in native history and botany to establish relationships with.
You can get in touch with Kristin my emailing firstname.lastname@example.org