30 January 2014

another way of sowing seeds

Some of the best natural dye students are under the age of five. Seriously; how many grown up students jump up and down and hug you, when you tell them it's time to unwrap a bundle? I'm so delighted with their pure joy and exitement - collecting leaves and flowers become an adventure, there's no hesitation when designing - they know exactly what they want to do and where to place what, having no clue at all what they're doing (I'm learning something here). The exited, yet ceremonious way they unwrap the bundles - and the unabashed pride and pleasure with the result. And they have no problem wearing their natural dyed underwear on the outside - and really, why shouldn't they?

My small 'students' already know a lot about plants; edible as well as dyeable. Quite a lot more, that many a modern grown up, I dare say. And they are not afraid to move one step ahead by themselves, trying out new things. The grey trousers above was a result of the imagination of a 4 year old. He was cutting down an offset from a stump, wanting to carve some hooks from it - when he got the idea to use the bark for dyeing (clever little guy!). Naturally we tried it - and got a pretty grey with a brown tinge (with a dip in rusty nail soup to deepen the colour). But what's even more important than the lovely things they make, are the seeds growing inside them: seeds of love and respect for Nature. Seeds, that are nurtured by getting to know her better, by learning about the gifts she offers, and by learning to appreciate her beauty. That's also what natural dyeing is all about for me; seeds of love!