Field Study: Natural Dye & Stitch Farm Retreat

I'm thrilled to announce a new workshop offering this summer: Field Study Natural Dye & Stitch Farm Retreat is something of a dream come true. I'm collaborating with the ever-talented textile artist, natural dyer, and quilter Jessica Lewis Stevens of Sugarhouse Workshop to offer a three-part project this summer, Field Study. This project will result in an exhibition of 10 new works by Jessica and I; it will share an ongoing dialogue of our work-in-progress through a photo documentation with the tag #fieldstudyfiber over on Instagram; and it will offer this textile retreat on Sunday, August 21, 2016.
This daylong retreat will take place on my dear friends' working organic farm, Whistle Down Farm, just 10 minutes outside of Hudson, NY in the heart of the Hudson Valley. The retreat will include technical textile instruction in natural dyeing and hand-stitching from the cover of the beautiful barn on the farm and will include ample opportunity to explore the landscape and soak in the natural beauty of our surroundings. Jessica and I are preparing all sorts of special treats for the retreat participants in addition to the bounty of workshop supplies. Imagine special booklets, handmade gifts, and Jessica's berry pies! In addition to a vegetarian farm fresh lunch that will be provided.

When I visited my friends' farm for the first time a few years ago I stood at the top of their driveway and looked over the fields and the greenhouses and the barns and the cottage and the various outbuildings they have built entirely from scratch and I thought, "My gosh, what a magical place. I'd love to build community here", and this workshop is the manifestation of that instinct. It's an honor to invite an intimate community to gather with us on this farm. It's a beautiful place that embodies the ethos of sustainable living.

As I continue down this path of sustainable fashion and the fusing of my art practice with slow fashion I am constantly brought back to the image of the farm. To our dependence on the farm. To the absolute need for our communities to support local farmers. To the beginnings of food and fiber in plants and animals that are raised on the farms. I keep considering how cotton, flax, hemp, wool, angora, mohair, and cashmere come from farms. And our dependence on these farms for textiles and fashion.

Slow Food has done for the food movement what I can only hope Slow Fashion will one day do for the fashion industry--it allows us to be mindful in our choices and to reconsider the true value of food or clothing and the many lives that touch that food or garment before it reaches our home. Enter into this conversation the idea of "slow textiles" or considering the materials, processes, and resources in textile work and engaging in handwork, honoring traditional practices, and considering ethical design.

This Field Study workshop will be firmly rooted in place. A very special place. A very important place. And a place that is very dear to my heart, Whistle Down Farm. This collaboration with Jessica is a multi-approach to exploring our thoughts on the intersection of fashion and farming; the crossing of fiber and farm; the importance of place and geography and localism; the dislodging of migration or relocation; and the pushing of traditional craft techniques like quilting and mending into a fine art medium.

In so many ways this collaboration with Jessica, this multi-faceted approach to collaboration, and this resulting workshop are the truest expression of my current work with sustainable fashion. The collaboration allows for dialogue and the sharing of ideas and the influence of form; the photo documentation on Instagram is a way for us to experiment with using social media as a core part of our collaborative project and sharing our processing with a larger community; and the daylong retreat allows us to come together in physical space to share our techniques, our muses, and our thinking about slow textiles from the location of a working organic farm.

Oh my gosh, I'm excited. Join us on Sunday, August 21 if you can. And for those of you coming from out-of-town feel free to ask any questions about lodging, food, shops, etc. and I'll be sure to answer in the comments. Hudson, NY is a magical small city fueled by arts and antiques and it has many wonderful accommodations, eateries, and special shops and spaces to crate a wonderful weekend getaway. I'm so honored to be offering this retreat to the world and I can't wait to meet the participants that will join us. I'm eager to hear your reactions so please feel free to leave any comments or questions below or over on Instagram.

Hooray for slow textiles and creative collaborations and organic farms!



  1. This sounds amazing! I'd so love to attend but the logistics of travel and a new baby make it seem unlikely. I hope very much that I can make it to one of your workshops next year!!

    1. Anna, logistics of travel and new babies are very close to my heart. I hope to offer an online mending workshop early fall. Hoping that might allow folks to join me virtually who cannot attend in-person. Stay tuned! And thanks for your kind words about this Field Study workshop, it's truly a dream come true. xoxo

  2. I'm thinking of attending the August 21 farm retreat in natural dying and boro mending. I live in NYC and I am trying to figure out if I could come up by train and get a taxi to the farm. If you have any suggestions, please get back to me.

    1. Hi Linda. Thanks for your interest! I believe Katharine from Drop Forge & Tool followed-up with you on email. Hope you can join us.


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