Textile Arts Center Presents “Stained,” an Exploration of Natural Dyes

Stained, Sewing Seeds, Textile Arts Center, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-textiles, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, natural dyes, natural dyeing, eco-friendly dyes, sustainable dyes, natural dyeing, eco-friendly dyeing, sustainable dyeing, plant-based dyes, Cara Piazza

All proceeds from the evening will benefit the center’s “Sewing Seeds” initiative, which includes an art residency, free educational programming, creation of natural dye gardens, and the development of resources on natural dyes, such as maps, tutorials, and instructions.

Want a sneak peek of what to expect? We visited Piazza’s studio—while she was dyeing fabric for the tent structure she’s creating for Stained—for a walkthrough of her process.

Stained, Sewing Seeds, Textile Arts Center, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-textiles, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, natural dyes, natural dyeing, eco-friendly dyes, sustainable dyes, natural dyeing, eco-friendly dyeing, sustainable dyeing, plant-based dyes, Cara Piazza

Piazza started with unbleached cotton muslin, which she cleaned and scoured so it readily takes the dye. Then she mordanted the fabric using alum, a naturally occurring mineral. This step is crucial because the mordant establishes a strong chemical bond between the dye and fiber, ensuring the fabric’s colorfastness.

Stained, Sewing Seeds, Textile Arts Center, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-textiles, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, natural dyes, natural dyeing, eco-friendly dyes, sustainable dyes, natural dyeing, eco-friendly dyeing, sustainable dyeing, plant-based dyes, Cara Piazza

To obtain the golden orange hue she wanted, Piazza used onions skins, first simmering them in water for 30 minutes to extract their dye. Strained of the skins, the dye liquid was ready to receive the fabric.

Stained, Sewing Seeds, Textile Arts Center, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-textiles, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, natural dyes, natural dyeing, eco-friendly dyes, sustainable dyes, natural dyeing, eco-friendly dyeing, sustainable dyeing, plant-based dyes, Cara Piazza

Different mordants and even the type of metal the dye vessel is made of can affect a fabric’s color. In her case, Piazza used an aluminum pot, which gave the fibers a subtle green tinge.

Stained, Sewing Seeds, Textile Arts Center, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-textiles, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, natural dyes, natural dyeing, eco-friendly dyes, sustainable dyes, natural dyeing, eco-friendly dyeing, sustainable dyeing, plant-based dyes, Cara Piazza

Piazza showed us other tent components she colored earlier, including pink panels dyed with hibiscus petals and annatto seeds.

Stained, Sewing Seeds, Textile Arts Center, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, eco-textiles, eco-friendly textiles, sustainable textiles, natural dyes, natural dyeing, eco-friendly dyes, sustainable dyes, natural dyeing, eco-friendly dyeing, sustainable dyeing, plant-based dyes, Cara Piazza

There were also darker-green ones derived from a blend of vinegar, oak gall tannin, and iron.

+ Stained: A Sensorial Experience of Natural Dyes

+ Textile Arts Center

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