Sewing Seeds recently partnered with the Brooklyn Grange for the Growing Color project. Growing Color brings awareness about natural dyes to wider audiences through the cultivation and identification of natural dye plants in public spaces. Sewing Seeds offers natural dye plant seedlings to participating community gardens, as well as dye plant identification labels and workshops.
The Brooklyn Grange runs the world’s largest rooftop soil farms, found on two different roofs in Brooklyn and Queens. It is operated under a team of hard-working people committed to a more sustainable NYC, and every year they grow mass quantities of organically cultivated produce.
Besides growing and distributing fresh, local herbs and veggies, they also provide urban farming and green roof consulting. Their main mission is to create a sustainable model for urban agriculture and to produce a variety of healthy, delicious goods while helping the ecosystem.
With the help of Sewing Seeds, the Grange planted a dye garden growing a wide array of dye plants, such as Japanese Indigo, Dyer’s Coreopsis, weld, Hopi sunflower, black hollyhock, and madder root. These are plants with dyeing properties, and they yield a wide range of natural colors.
Sewing Seeds also held a natural dyeing workshop at the Brooklyn Grange, teaching about bundle dyeing and solar dyeing techniques. Working with the awesome crew at the Grange, we learned about dyeing with natural resources that we could gather from all around us, from our gardens, compost, and even from our own kitchens!
For bundle dyeing, we took a piece of wet fabric, and then arranged our plants and flowers onto the fabric however we wanted - the fun part about this is that you don't exactly know how it will turn out- it's a surprise!
Then using a strong piece of twine, we wrapped the fabric tightly around firm objects (such as a rocks), and submerged them in boiling water for 30 minutes. Once they had cooled, we unwrapped the fabric to reveal vivid, naturally dyed designs!
We also had so much fun solar dyeing. We mixed dyestuff, water and our fibers into a jar, then using the sun as the heat source we sealed the jar and set them in a sunlit spot to 'cook' for a couple days.
Hopefully we can see the final results soon after it's taken out of the jars when they're ready. Thanks again to Brooklyn Grange for this great opportunity!
You can read more about the Brooklyn Grange here.