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Sold-out Textile Design natural dye workshops at The Box

BA (Hons) and MA Textile Design academics, technicians and graduates share their expertise around natural dye materials and processes
<p dir="ltr">Textile Design experts from Arts University Plymouth have run a series of sold-out natural dye workshops at The Box, Plymouth. The specialists shared their expertise around natural dye materials and processes based on research initiated by <a href="">BA (Hons) Textile Design</a> Course Leader and textile designer <a href="">Emma Gribble</a>, who came up with the idea to establish a sustainable dye garden with the National Trust at Plymouth’s Poole Farm.</p> <p dir="ltr">The workshops were part of the 'Bountiful Botanicals' programme, a series of events inspired by The Box’s <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Dutch Flowers</a> exhibition (running until 7 January 2024), celebrating community growing, local food production and plant-based creativity.</p>
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Fiona Lloyd. Photo by Textile Design student Ruthie Holmes.

<p dir="ltr"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">'Of the Ground - Dye Garden Drop In’</a>, the first of the two sessions, was led by MA Textile Design graduate <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Zowie Wyatt</a>. Alongside academics and technicians from Arts University Plymouth, Zowie demonstrated to members of the public how to make natural dyes from plants and how acid and alkaline solutions can influence the colours that can be created.<br /></p>
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Photo by Fiona Evans

<p dir="ltr">Based in Cornwall, Zowie is a textile artist, designer and maker with a love for texture, colour and contemporary design. She creates bespoke handmade textiles that fuse abstract design and playful textures, using high quality, natural materials.</p> <p dir="ltr">During her MA studies at Arts University Plymouth, Zowie held a natural dye workshop as part of the <a href="">Green Minds Conference</a>. Zowie used dyes sourced from the sustainable dye garden at Plymouth’s Poole Farm that was created by Arts University and the National Trust as part of the <a href="">‘Of the Ground’ project</a>.</p>
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Fiona Lloyd (left) running the workshop. Photo by Textile Design student Ruthie Holmes.

<p dir="ltr">Additionally, Zowie worked as a Research Assistant on <a href="">BA (Hons) Textile Design</a> Lecturer Charlotte Warren’s <a href="">project with pioneering clothing manufacturer Finisterre to support dye mapping within their supply chain</a>, a project funded by Research England’s Knowledge Exchange funding that was also showcased at the Green Minds Conference.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">‘Of the Ground - Dye Garden Deep Dive’</a>, the second session, was fully subscribed ahead of the event, which took place last weekend. BA (Hons) Textiles Design Technical Demonstrator Fiona Lloyd ran an in-depth workshop exploring the properties of various plants, fixing dyes and how you can shift colour using iron, vinegar and soda ash. Participants used plants grown in the dye garden at Poole Farm, and left with a collection of swatches in a variety of colours.</p>
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Fiona Lloyd (right) running the workshop. Photo by Fiona Evans.

<p dir="ltr">Planted in raised beds, <a href="">Poole Farm's dye garden</a> has a variety of plants including woad, dyer’s coreopsis, daffodils, weld, marigolds, tansy and madder, all sourced by local suppliers in the South West. They were chosen in consultation with natural dye plant experts Nature’s Rainbow and natural dye guru Jane Deane. The beds were designed and constructed by the staff and volunteers at Poole Farm, including an accessible bed for wheelchair users.</p> <p dir="ltr">Arts University Plymouth's Emma Gribble came up with the idea for the ‘Of the Ground’ dye garden project, closely supported in the planning and planting stages by Fiona Lloyd.<br /></p>
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Photo by Fiona Evans

<p dir="ltr"><a href="">Emma Gribble</a>, BA (Hons) Textiles Design Course Leader, said: “We teach Textile Design students at Arts University Plymouth to always be aware of the impact that our design choices can have on the environment and to strive to find sustainable ways to achieve the outcome that they envisage, both in their personal work and for professional clients. In order to make informed choices about how to source different colours and dyes, we study a large range of both chemical and natural dyes and processes, which led to the creation of the ‘Of the Ground’ dye garden at Poole farm. Students benefit from this expertise all year round, but thanks to colleagues at The Box, we’ve also had an opportunity to share some of what we’ve learned with visitors. It has been a joy to contribute to their 'Bountiful Botanicals' programme and given the high demand, I hope we’ll have a chance to run similar events again in the future.”<br /></p>
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Emma Gribble (left) and Fiona Lloyd (right)

<p dir="ltr"><a href="">BA (Hons) Textile Design</a> students at Arts University Plymouth enjoy a vibrant, industry-focused course that nurtures their design personalities through a mix of textile material experimentation, personal development and creative industry opportunities. Students learn how to design for different markets and audiences, on all kinds of surfaces using traditional skills such as screen printing and digital equipment. They also benefit from real-world experience working with prestigious designers and makers, study trips overseas and sponsored industrial projects with brands and studios.</p> <p dir="ltr">Graduates become textile and surface designers for fashion, interiors, products and craft applications, as well as textile buyers, and stylists. To find out more, visit the next Arts University Plymouth <a href="">Open Day</a> on Saturday 25 November or read about <a href="">BA (Hons) Textile Design</a> online.</p>