7.23.2013

Natural Dye Workshop with Permacouture






This weekend I had the true pleasure of attending Permacouture's Plant Dye Workshop. Or, more specifically titled, "Exploring the Seasonal Color & Taste Palette: Plant Dye Workshop, Local Produce Tasting, and Farmstead Lunch with Sasha Duerr and Kelsie Kerr". This meant I drove an hour and a half north to the organic Gospel Flat Farm in Bolinas, CA and then spent the day foraging for plants, creating natural dyes, experimenting with shibori dyeing techniques on silk, tasting and debating local peaches, nectarines, and plums, and then enjoying a beautiful farm lunch artfully prepared by chef, Kelsie Kerr. To summarize, I just spent a day in my personal Nirvana.



We foraged for blackberries. We plucked, peeled, sliced, and chopped various plants to make dyes. We prepared blackberry, blackberry leaf, plum leaves, fennel flowers and stems, sunflower heads, artichoke leaves, and carrot tops for the dye baths. We twisted, clipped, banned, and folded silks and linens into tiny bundles to be tenderly placed into simmering concoctions. We walked. We talked. We debated the ins and out of sustainable living in small urban spaces. We nibbled. We daydreamed. We glanced off into the horizons to watch herons glide by. 




My kind friend, Sasha Duerr, of Permacouture managed to combine so many of my dearest passions into this one-day workshop. She speaks my language. And it's this rare intersection of thoughtfulness between food, farming, art, and sustainability that just makes my heartbeat race with inspiration.

It's the completeness of the thinking. The totality of the world. The way they somehow promised that this intersection might actually be attainable and we might be able to collectively move in this direction. And then they coupled all that thinking and all that nurturing and all that careful stewardship of the land (food, clothing, shelter) and the careful organization of a day's events around artmaking, dyeing, and creative exploration. And good food. And good wine.



One of my favorite parts of the workshop was when Sasha talked about altering how we see color. How we have to reconsider how we see dyes and learn to see the depth of natural dyes over their commercially produced counterparts. That we have to actually shift our thinking and learn to see color with a new expectation--natural dyes are complex colors and commercially produced dyes are "flat" or consist of a single pigment. She calls the result of natural dyes "living color" and says we have to start seeing in this new direction. I think this is such a metaphor for our contemporary lives. And such an homage to the slow food and slow fashion and sustainable art movements.




And how all of this thinking points towards the willingness to slow down. To reconsider. To experiment. To learn. To study. To embrace the imperfections and explore the inconsistencies. To really honor the plants, the changing seasons, the food, the land, the people harvesting the food, tending to the plants, and stewarding the land. And to embrace this incredibly exciting time in sustainability and fashion. The ways in which we can slowly taste the food, slowly walk the land, slowly dye the silk fabric with blackberry leaves and notice how the colors shift in the arc of the day's sun.


Le sigh. I wish I could go back tomorrow.

xoxo,
k

16 comments:

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    1. Thank you, dearest you.

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  2. This made me sigh with love.

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    1. Hooray! Hooray for sighs with love! It was a magical day.

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  3. Katrina, I loved this post. So gorgeous - your words and photography both. I loved the thoughts of slowing down... life gets so busy that we just get caught up in the rapids and can't even catch a breath. I appreciated the reminder of slowing down. Beautiful place you got to vist and what an awesome experience. Love it. ~ Dori ~

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    1. Dori, such wise words you share here. Yes, it was an awesome experience. Such a powerful reminder that gets lost in the everyday. But we can strive. Yes, yes.

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  4. Wonderful report, "living" photos in true color, and a blissful convergence. Thank you, Katrina, for documenting and sharing!

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    1. My pleasure to share. Such an amazing experience needs to be shared with folks who could not be there in person. It was so, so, so beautiful. Wow.

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  5. Such a beautiful post, Katrina. To honor all of these rich and wonderful facets of our world, and the people who help make them so. Yes. Yes.

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    1. Yes, exactly. To honor all of these parts in one place. For one afternoon. It felt like ceremony.

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  6. Wow! Looks like it was an amazing workshop, maybe I should have ditched the in-laws that day! I hope you bring your experiments with you and some of what you learned to the indigo weekend. We'd love to learn more!

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    1. I will share everything and anything you'd like to know! And I highly encourage you attend one in person. I think you'd LOVE it. See you soon!

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  7. Gorgeous photos, and such touching writing. These glimpses into your day of nirvana were so wonderful to read! Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you for visiting. And for your very kind comments.

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  8. You speak my language too !!! So inspired. Can I link with your blog... I could not of put my work into words here in the UK any better than this beautiful blog, Thank you My website is www.pottingsheddirect.co.uk I am on Facebook and blog with wordpress.

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    1. Thank you so much! Yes, you can certainly link to my work, I'm honored. I just ask that folks credit my work with my name and a working web link. So happy to know that this work resonates with you. Thank you!

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Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.