Sewing Seeds provides accessible, accurate, and inspired information on natural dyes, to bring awareness for their use as a sustainable art medium.






 Before the invention of synthetic dyes in the 19th century, people had been extracting bright colors from the natural bounty available to use as sources of color for textiles, paintings and leather. Despite the growing interest in natural dyes, the knowledge of these materials and techniques has been partially lost, or the information available is confusing and scattered. 


The Sewing Seeds program is guided by the belief that the future of textile art, textile production and fashion will have to necessarily include better practices and a better knowledge of the materials. We also believe that the access to natural dyes and the knowledge of the dyeing techniques should be available for everyone who wants to use it.


By facilitating access to information on natural dyeing and by contributing to the education of a new generation of designers, artists, thinkers and buyers we hope that we’re making a difference in our community and in the future of our planet.








Sewing Seeds partners with community gardens, urban farms, parks and other green spaces to create educational Natural Dye Gardens.  In these gardens, the public can interact and learn from a number of plant species that can be used to obtain color. Through the gardening season the Natural Dye Gardens are also a backdrop for workshops, lectures and other events. Our gardens also make possible the supply of locally grown dye materials to our programming and to our network of designers/artist. Learn about our past Natural Dye gardens here.


We offer different levels of partnership:


Level One

  • Sewing Seeds consults in the creation of natural dye plants section (beds, pots, etc)
  • Sewing Seeds provides information labels for all natural dye plants existent in the garden.
  • Garden hosts Sewing Seeds workshops for the public and members.
  • Involvement in existing events/programs run by garden.


Level Two

  • Garden hosts Sewing Seeds workshops for public and members
  • Sewing Seeds provides information labels for all natural dye plants existent in the garden.


Level Three

  • Sewing Seeds provides information labels for all natural dye plants existent in the garden.


In 2014 we’re partnering up with the following gardens:


Gill Hodges Community Garden 

Old Stone House 

Greene Acres Community Garden





Workshops in the Garden


The Workshops in the Garden are a series of free all-ages classes that takes place in the Natural Dye Gardens, during the Summer. Workshops are taught by guest artists and Sewing Seeds staff and feature a variety of techniques and projects related to natural dyes, traditional textile techniques, and urban gardening. Past workshops included indigo dyeing, back-strap weaving, kumihimo braiding, ice flower dyeing, bundle dyeing and more.


Schedule for Fall 2014.




Sewing Seeds also collaborates with other organizations and schools in the development lectures, workshops and master classes. Past collaborators include the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Skillshare, Local Roots, Ideas City (New Museum), LBDA.





Sewing Seeds’ Art Residency awards artists that integrate natural dyes, community engagement and public spaces in their practice. During 6 weeks, the selected artist will work towards developing a site specific project to be displayed outdoors in a public space. Throughout the residency, the artist will have access to studio space and locally grown natural dye materials.


About the Residency: 

- Projects must be developed, created and installed during the time frame of the residency. Final work will be displayed until the end of September. 

- Artist-in-Residence will teach one workshop in the garden during the residency time. 



- Materials stipend of $500

- Personal studio space at TAC/OAK Artist in Residency space for the duration of the residency

- Access to TAC's studio and equipment (including floor looms; home and industrial sewing machines; knitting machines; dye lab for natural and synthetic dyes; washer/dryer; steamer; screen printing facilities which include 3 yardage tables, large exposure unit and washout booth) 

- Access to natural dye plants from the Sewing Seeds natural dye garden partners

- Promotion of artist and project work-in-progress through TAC social media and website

- Opening party for final project


Sewing Seeds Residency 2013 Grantee: Neil Goss

Sewing Seeds Residency 2014 Grantee: Brigitta Varadi





One of the ways that Sewing Seeds meets its mission is through the development of educational resources that allow a wider audience access to information and natural dye materials. 


Mapping Project

The Mapping Project aims to identify and record the natural dye plants that exist throughout New York's parks and public spaces, through the creation of interactive maps.  These maps are available for free download.


Prospect Park 

Trees of Central Park 




Bundle Dyeing 

Dyeing with tea + iron 

Fermentation indigo vat 





Sewing Seeds is available for collaborations, special projects and consulting with other organizations and artists.


For inquiries email





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






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

Pretext Social Club, May 6th, 2013

Edible Brooklyn, May 13th, 2014

Ecouterre, May 13th, 2014