Group Leader: Carlie Muessig
Monthly Meetings: Saturdays 2-4 PM @ the Guild House (see Calendar for dates)
Gardening Dates: Saturdays 9:30-11 AM @ Awbury Arboretum (April – November)
The dyeing process has as its predecessor the mordanting of wool, cellulose and silk. Each procedure will be explained and demonstrated before the dyeing process begins.
The dyeing team has the goal that each member of the special interest group assist with and understand the dyeing process. To this end dye sessions will be organized with full participation the goal. We will include all members in the explanation of the dye bath composition and in the process itself. Our aim is educational and communal. We will congregate together when possible to create and use the dye bath. We will strive for varied and strong results for each plant used. Our goal is maximum color for protein and cellulose fibers, coaxing color through methodology and experimentation.
The Dye Garden at Awbury Arboretum in Germantown, Pa, was planted by members of PGHW. As its centerpiece, this study group investigates nature’s colors and plants in relation to their producing natural dyes. Guild members are encouraged to help maintain the plants, weed the garden, and learn to harvest and process the dye plants. Awbury Arboretum also uses our garden for demonstrations and instruction for community residents. Members are encouraged to help maintain the plants and learn to harvest and process the dye plants.
The gardening process begins with selection of plant varieties by SIG group members. We consider previously planted crops as well as new varieties of plants both to guarantee maximum yield and explore new dye materials.
Once the selection is made and last frost has passed seeds are sown, supplemented by nursery stock as needed. The garden beds are maintained through the summer, watering, weeding cutting and drying blooms. We also evaluate the yield and viability of each crop.
When the growing season is over and all the plant material is dried the dye garden members will weigh each variety individually. We will suggest the weight of fabric to be dyed for each variety of plant material as well as additives to change or strengthen color. We then transfer our bounty to the natural dyeing SIG, clean out our garden beds and wait for another growing season.
**The dye garden welcomes volunteers from outside of the SIG, both from PGHW and the Pa community at large!**
For questions, please email the Group Leader above.
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