Foraged Colour is a new Arts Council funded project conceived by seam member Linda Row. The project will investigate local, sustainable, and contemporary garment production and culminate in a touring exhibition.
Linda, a sustainable clothing designer, has been researching traditional dye recipes using foraged plants and lichens from her garden and nearby countryside.
“My research has given me new ways of looking. Now, every time I go outside, I see so much colour in the hedgerows, trees and fields.” Linda Row
Linda’s research gave her a vision of how contemporary fashion could become a closed-loop, sustainable, slow fashion industry using locally grown and foraged materials for dyeing and yarn, and utilising local production. This local production would exist alongside reusing, repairing and recovering existing garments and textiles. Foraged Colour is Linda’s first step towards this goal.
The starting point for Foraged Colour will be hand-dying wool with natural dye colours made from locally foraged plants and fungi. The wool will be sourced from British sheep and spun in the United Kingdom. Four textile artists; seam members Gill Hewitt and Penny Wheeler, with Eve Kumari and Frances Westerduin, will create unique, handmade woven and non-woven textiles from the dyed wool. Linda Row, will design and construct garments from these artisan textiles.
The exhibition will be a celebration of local, sustainable materials and the slow fashion supply chain. It will show audiences the surprising range of materials that can be sustainably foraged to create colour using traditional dyeing practices in a modern context. Visitors will be able to experience as much of the making processes as possible; with touch samples of plant materials and textiles, sketch books, and a film offering a commentary on each artist’s involvement with the project.
Foraged Colour, the exhibition, will be launched as part of the SIT Select Festival 2020, at Lansdown Hall & Gallery, Lansdown, Stroud GL5 1BB from 4th May to 10th May 2020.
There will be workshops to accompany the exhibition for people to try eco-dyeing and up-cycling; extending the concept of foraging to include used items in charity shops. The diverse venues for the workshops include Aberglasney Gardens, Atelier Stroud, Oxfam Superstore, Westonbirt Arboretum and zero waste shops.
Linda and the textile artists would like the issues explored by the Foraged Colour project to encourage conversations on themes such as climate change, localism, embodied energy, ethical consumption and sustainability. If you are interested, you can follow the project’s progress on www.foragedcolour.org, and follow the artists and designers on Instagram: Gill Hewitt, Eve Kumari, Linda Row, Frances Westerduin and Penny Wheeler.
We would love to hear your views on sustainable and slow fashion. How do you envision the future?
[Note: a version of this blog post first appeared on www.foragedcolour.org on 14/02/2020]