We foraged for blackberries. We plucked, peeled, sliced, and chopped various plants to make dyes. We prepared blackberry, blackberry leaf, plum leaves, fennel flowers and stems, sunflower heads, artichoke leaves, and carrot tops for the dye baths. We twisted, clipped, banned, and folded silks and linens into tiny bundles to be tenderly placed into simmering concoctions. We walked. We talked. We debated the ins and out of sustainable living in small urban spaces. We nibbled. We daydreamed. We glanced off into the horizons to watch herons glide by.
My kind friend, Sasha Duerr, of Permacouture managed to combine so many of my dearest passions into this one-day workshop. She speaks my language. And it's this rare intersection of thoughtfulness between food, farming, art, and sustainability that just makes my heartbeat race with inspiration.
It's the completeness of the thinking. The totality of the world. The way they somehow promised that this intersection might actually be attainable and we might be able to collectively move in this direction. And then they coupled all that thinking and all that nurturing and all that careful stewardship of the land (food, clothing, shelter) and the careful organization of a day's events around artmaking, dyeing, and creative exploration. And good food. And good wine.
One of my favorite parts of the workshop was when Sasha talked about altering how we see color. How we have to reconsider how we see dyes and learn to see the depth of natural dyes over their commercially produced counterparts. That we have to actually shift our thinking and learn to see color with a new expectation--natural dyes are complex colors and commercially produced dyes are "flat" or consist of a single pigment. She calls the result of natural dyes "living color" and says we have to start seeing in this new direction. I think this is such a metaphor for our contemporary lives. And such an homage to the slow food and slow fashion and sustainable art movements.
And how all of this thinking points towards the willingness to slow down. To reconsider. To experiment. To learn. To study. To embrace the imperfections and explore the inconsistencies. To really honor the plants, the changing seasons, the food, the land, the people harvesting the food, tending to the plants, and stewarding the land. And to embrace this incredibly exciting time in sustainability and fashion. The ways in which we can slowly taste the food, slowly walk the land, slowly dye the silk fabric with blackberry leaves and notice how the colors shift in the arc of the day's sun.
Le sigh. I wish I could go back tomorrow.