The Sewing Seeds project started in 2010 with the mission of providing accessible, accurate, and inspired information on natural dyes. From its start, Sewing Seeds has been tightly woven within our community, collaborating with local gardens, organizations and schools to bring awareness for the use of natural dyes as a sustainable art medium.
WHY NATURAL DYES?
Before the invention of synthetic dyes in the 19th century, the world wasn’t black and white. It was full of bright colors extracted from the bounty around us; from leaves, flowers, fruits, roots, and bark. Today most of these plants can be grown in a sustainable way and used to dye fabric and yarn with minor impact in the environment, to the dyer, and to the user. Not to mention that a lot of sources for natural dyes are actually wasted by modern cultures, including onion skins, carrot tops and, rhubarb leaves.
WHAT DOES SEWING SEEDS DO?
Some of Sewing Seeds actions and projects in development are to:
- Build Natural Dyes Gardens in public spaces, such as community gardens, to be used freely for education and research;
- Create educational resource tools on natural dyes to be freely available to wide audience and can be used as a source of inspiration and of accurate information;
- Lay the groundwork for the local production of natural plant dyes and naturally-dyed yarns;
- Establish collaborative relationships with organizations in our community, including parks, gardens and schools.
SEWING SEEDS PROJECTS
Sewing Seeds introduced the Garden Residency in the Summer of 2013. The Garden Residency grants one artist or designer the opportunity to develop an outdoor art project related with natural dyes, during the month of August.
Our 2013 Garden Resident is artist Neil Goss. Neil is an environmental artist, focusing on fiber and clay processes, based in Lawrence, Kansas. As the first Sewing Seeds Garden Resident,he developed an art project in the Sewing Seeds Natural Dye Garden in Boroum Hill, utilizing the dye materials from the garden and traditional techniques such as back-strap weaving. See photos of Neil's project for the Sewing Seeds Garden here.
The Natural Dye Garden + Natural Dye Education Progam
Sewing Seeds collaboration with community gardens and public spaces have resulted in the development of Natural Dye Gardens. In these gardens, the public can interact and learn from a variety of plant species that are used to obtain color, all carefully labeled.
Our most recent Natural Dye Garden project was developed in a previous abandoned lot in the Boerum Hill neighborhood in Brooklyn, with the collaboration of FeedBack Farms, 596 Acres and Small Green Patch, during the gardening seasons of 2012 and 2013
The Garden occupied 800 square feet with a variety of dyeing plants. We started most of our plants from heirloom and organic seeds and we tendered them with totally chemical free practices. Our Garden also acted as a backdrop for free events and workshops about natural dyes and dyeing techniques, and our first Garden Art Residency. In addition, in 2012 Sewing Seeds developed the first East Coast CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) of natural dyes, through which we supplied members with locally grown vegetable dyes and workshops on how to use them. See photos of the garden and workshops here.
The Sewing Seeds Natural Dye Garden officially closed in November 2013. We’re sad to see this chapter end, but excited for the next season. Keep checking for updates.
We encourage submissions of projects and education proposals that integrate the garden space, Sewing Seeds mission, natural dyes, and promote community engagement and interactivity. All submissions, inquiries and suggestions should be sent to email@example.com
SEWING SEEDS IN THE NEWS
City Atlas New York, February 9th, 2012
SHFT, March 11th, 2012
Good, March 22nd, 2012
New York Times, April 4th, 2012
Ecco*Eco, April 5th, 2012
Design is... the blog, August 4th, 2012
Brooklyn Mag, July 25th, 2012
DNAinfo, September 12th, 2012
Village Voice, Best Of, October 4th, 2012
Thread Cult Podcast, December 16th, 2012