Earth Tones LA: Festival of Natural Color
Contributed by environmental artist + writer, Abigail Doan:
Earth Tones LA
11am–4pm on May 18–20, 2018
Poketo Project Space at ROW DTLA
777 South Alameda Street, #174
We are excited to share news of Earth Tones LA, a three-day festival of natural color, featuring artisan dyers and designers sourcing botanical and mineral hues from select locations across the United States.
This curated pop-up event, taking place at the industrial-modern Poketo Project Space | ROW DTLA, is the first in the US to bring together work from luminaries in the natural dye community, as well as design objects and art editions exploring the tonal range of earth’s artifacts. Many of the Textile Arts Center’s former fashion/textile collaborators, mentors, and workshop instructors will participate in the event, so it is exciting to see how the community is continually evolving and expanding.
From urban Los Angeles to treehouse living in Joshua Tree to Marfa’s open skies and garden rooftops in Gowanus, Brooklyn, the event’s participants channel regional inspiration into their creative approaches to elemental materials and processes — ranging from wood to earth to light, flowers, (clay) soil, and water. Their resourceful strategies are forward-thinking and materially grounded – with natural color as a design touchstone.
Natural pigments were the only pigments until the Industrial Revolution, when synthetic colors were first synthesized. The past several years have seen a resurgence of natural dyes among sustainably-minded fashion/textile designers, who welcome the earthy process and authentic (often more flattering) color palette. Imagery of vast tracts of the land polluted by large chemical dye plants have also spurred on an activitist movement fueled by an abhorrence to environmental violation and unregulated water depletion.
Stunning books such as Sasha Duerr’s Natural Color and Instagram accounts such as Liz Spencer’s @thedogwooddyer have also become must-reads for the environmentally-minded natural dye movement. Community gardens that now set aside zones for natural dye plants and workshop offerings have, thankfully, demonstrated that ‘earth tones’ are very much linked to place-based systems that thrive on healthy food, vegetation, soil, and water relationships.
With all of these ideas fueling our interest in highlighting the cross-pollination between the studios of invited artists and designers, the Earth Tones LA weekend line up will include the following:
We welcome you to join us in LA and at future events in other neighborhoods, both rural and urban, as we continue this dialogue on the material and transformative nature of color. A special thanks to the Textile Arts Center for being an advocate for natural dyes and community outreach from the very beginning. Their programming and continued support has made all the difference.
All images courtesy of the artists, designers.