Natural Dye Garden

Hey guys, it’s been a little over a week since I’ve posted, schools been kicking my butt. Anyways, I figured I would share with you guys what I got to experience. It’s pretty neat if you think about the bigger picture. I like the idea that my school has, with being as “Green” as possible. I wrote this piece for my news writing class, not sure if it’s the best news article structure wise, but I think it’s readable, and hopefully it could inspire someone, somewhere else, to think about how you could go green. 

Personally I try to help out where I can, but I don’t think I’m the “greenest” person out there, I may not even contend with mediocre. I try! I try!

******************

As wooden tables were being covered with paper, red, orange and dark green dye were being mixed in mason jars, for attendees to experiment with. Art students from the College of Visual Arts and Design, were getting a rundown on the scheduled events.

Fiber students were getting prepared to kick off their first launch party for a Natural Dye Garden, located at Bain Hall at the intersection of Avenue C, and Highland Avenue. The launch took place at the site of the new garden on October 9, at 6 p.m.

 A better way to dye fabrics then using harmful manufactured dyes; by crushing up the plants petals, roots and stems to be boiled for dying purposes.

The garden will have an area dedicated to native Texas plants, as well as other durable plants, that are suitable for making homemade dye.

The launch event had several stations where guests were able to do some hands-on experimentation with natural dyes.

You could make a necklace out of yarn and paper; then dip your paper into the color of your choice, created from different plant matter.             

Another table had a bigger dye station set-up, where you could dip bigger pieces of cloth or other fabrics, into buckets filled with a blue dye.

The launch party also had a “how-to” station, where they showed you how to grind up the plant materials.

“The process is sort of like magic,” said Abby Sherrill, a fibers graduate student at the University of North Texas and, also one of the students who lead this project.

In February 2012, Sasha Duerr, a professor at the California College of Arts, guest lectured about using natural dyes; Duerr has her own natural dye garden in California. When she left, fiber students were inspired to create their own natural dye garden.

Morgan Kusler, a fibers under-grad at UNT, reached out to Lauren Helixon, head of the “We Mean Green Fund,” and Assistant Director at the Office of Sustainability.

The Office of Sustainability at UNT has a goal for our university, which includes our campus becoming a global leader in environmental, economic, and social sustainability. The Office of Sustainability is committed to funding projects that will encourage the use of “green standards” to improve our way of living, to create a sustainable environment for ourselves.

Every student at UNT funds “The We Mean Green Fund,” which every student pays 5 dollars a semester to, this was the fiber students’ best option.

They filled out their form online at the Office of Sustainability website and made several proposals in the Spring of 2012 through early Summer 2012, before the garden was approved from the “We Mean Green Fund” in Summer of 2012.

Lauren Helixon, told the crowd of about 40-50 people, “This project was a joy to work on and be apart of.”

With collaboration from the UNT Sustainability, UNT Facilities, the College of Visual Arts and Design, and Greenmeme, the Natural Dye Garden project was underway.

“Very exciting to see the collaboration between students, faculty, staff and the greater DFW area,” said Lesli Robertson, a senior lecturer on fibers, and the teacher sponsor for the project. “It’s a great work in progress and serves as a great place for the community,” Robertson added.

The garden will contain ancient dyes like, the Woad, which can make different shades of purple, Maddar, which is a variety of oranges, and Weld, that has hues of greens.

The garden may just pertain to students majoring in textile and fiber but they also want other students to enjoy the beauty of the garden.

“In fibers we love to share,” said Morgan Kusler, a fibers under-grad and, lead student on the garden project.

              The natural dye garden already has drawn attention from other departments and clubs around UNT like, biology, anthropology, and the Southern Seed Legacy.

“We’re figuring it out as we go along,” said Robertson. “We want it to go beyond just a garden, we want it to be a place for the community.” 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s