Natural Dye Workshop

Tucked away in an airy studio in Brooklyn a gorgeous palette of textiles hug the wall. Ranging from vibrant to pastel, these sublime hues are achieved with the simple help of plants. Breathing life back into the age-old process of natural dyeing is Mari of Fragmentario. 

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Using eco-friendly plant materials, Mari and her partner Griffin (Native Outpost) foster sustainable solutions to colorizing fabrics. In this workshop, we used nothing but onion skins and water to dye our fabric. We began by learning the basics of how plants and other elements, like iron, interact with different types of fabrics. We were also introduced to mordants (substances that allow dyes to bind more easily to fabric), though we didn't use any ourselves. 

With two dye baths ready - one colored by yellow onion skins, the other by red onion skins - we each took turns submerging our fabrics. A festive playlist featuring string music filled the space as we watched our silk and cotton take on color. After a round of mimosas and a few servings of bruschetta and pesto, our pieces were ready to be rinsed.

The results were stunning. The yellow onion skins produced warm orange tones while the red onion skins lent a range of dreamy pink and brown hues. After only a few hours, our fabrics assumed a bouquet of pastel shades. Had we chosen to leave them in longer the colors would have become more vibrant. 

There are many factors involved in natural dyeing which makes it quite tricky to master. With the guidance and expertise of Mari, we all walked away with beautiful results and a refreshing experience - one that cultivates an awareness for the environment and an open mind for sustainable solutions.

For more natural dye beauties, follow Fragmentario_ on Instagram and be sure to get your DIY on at one of their upcoming workshops!

Marla Christiansen