Harvesting the Rainbow

June 23, 2014 at 8:31 am Leave a comment

Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, May 2014


The development of synthetic dyes in the 19th century helped make textile production cheaper and less variable, but it also brought a host of environmental and health issues. Toxics such as chlorine, formaldehyde, and heavy metals are commonly used in the process of dyeing and treating textiles, making the industry one of the world’s largest polluters of fresh water.

While studying painting in art school, (Sasha) Duerr found that oil-based paints made her sick, so she started exploring alternatives. This led her to the world of textiles and natural dyes. With nods to Permaculture and slow food, Duerr founded the Permacouture Institute, an educational nonprofit dedicated to sustainable textiles and regenerative fashion design.

Duerr collaborates with chefs to produce Dinners to Dye For, where the participants take part in a plant dye workshop and enjoy a meal that features the same plants, with the goal of raising awareness about sustainable fashion and food.

Using plant-based colors and repurposing old garments or fabrics can be another way of breathing new life into our wardrobes, without the drain on resources. “There’s something great about taking a piece of clothing you already have and imbuing it with newness and storytelling,” Duerr says. “In the end, what’s going to make you keep something and take care of it is an appreciation and understanding of the hands and labor that went into it.” Read more HERE>>


Entry filed under: Art/Crafts, Food, Gardens, Recycling.

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