Episode 159: Step into the vibrant and beautiful world of living color with natural dyer, designer, artist, and educator Sasha Duerr. Sasha takes us on a journey from Soil to Studio. We learn how creating and working with dyes made from plants, seaweed, and other natural materials can increase our ecological and botanical knowledge, foster collaboration, and have a beneficial impact on ecosystems.
Natural dyeing offers us multiple opportunities to participate in solutions. Food scraps and green waste can transform old clothes into “new”. Instead of being buried at landfills and emitting VOC’s, organic materials like onion skins, pomegranate rinds, and citrus peels can be re-purposed into natural dyes that revitalize our wardrobes and lessen our carbon footprint. Some dyes can even be poured into the garden when finished and used as a fertilizer.
Unwanted weeds in your yard or invasive plants in your neighborhood can also be turned into color. One of my favorites is Sour Grass. I look forward to seeing this ubiquitous plant every Spring. I collect loads of it and dye old clothes a neon yellow that really glows. (Note: Be sure to identify plants before using them as dyes- just in case they are toxic.)
Sasha talks about a few of her favorite dyes including Loquat, Eucalyptus leaves, and Redwood Cones, all very appropriate plants for beginning dyers. We also learn about some of the palettes from her new book Natural Color. I especially loved the Pollinator and Perfume Palettes. They will make you swoon!
What color story would you like your clothes to tell?
Sasha Duerr is an artist and designer who works with plant-based palettes, natural dyes, and place-based recipes. She is an Adjunct Professor at the California College of the Arts with a joint appointment in textiles and fine arts where she designs curriculum and teaches courses in the intersection of natural color, slow food, slow fashion, and social practice.
Her work has been shown in galleries and museums across the United States and abroad. In 2007, Sasha founded the Permacouture Institute to encourage the exploration of regenerative design practices for fashion and textiles. Her extensive work with plant-based palettes and ecological principles through local land-based sources and community has been featured in many publications She is the author of The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes, Natural Color, and Natural Palettes.Discover more about Sasha and her work at SashaDuerr.com.
Sasha mentions the following references in this episode: