I've been thinking a lot about textile art and children in preparation for our Textile Summer Camp (August 22nd- 26th). I've been thinking about and doing research on block printing with kids, on dyeing fabrics with the sun and dyeing fabrics with flora and fauna. At the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, where I received my BFA, they had an amazing textile art program. I have fond memories, of giant weavings pouring from walls, brightly dyed wool in tufts filling a room. It's such a poetic and ancient medium with an incredibly rich history in many cultures.
A lot of cultures used what plants that were growing around them to dye their fabrics. Thus in our Spring Break camp this week we gathered local flowers and leaves from our gardens and neighborhood. Bougainvillea turned out to be one of the best flowers we foraged because it grows so abundantly here in Southern California and because of the vibrant colors of the flowers.
Along with some wax paper, some cotton muslin and a hammer, we were ready for our dyeing session.
What is the best way to get the flower pigment onto the fabric? To SMASH it into the fabric and that is just what the kids did. We talked about the different colors of flowers and leaves and what color the pigment might be. The mint from our herb garden here smelled incredible when pounded into the fabric.
Some children set up a pattern with the flowers choosing different colors of flowers for different parts of their fabric and others just smashed away at as many flowers and leaves as they could. The results are these beautiful banners of natural pigments.