Wander through the magnificent Sherbrooke forest, learning about the ecology of this Gondwanan relic, while collecting plant materials you will use to dye fabric, creating a modern piece of wearable art that will bring the beauty of nature with you, wherever you wear it.
When: Sun, 30 Sep 9am to 5pm
Where: Belgrave Emporium
The expert Lucy Beach of Sinoper Textiles completed her BA in textile design in the UK in the 1990s. Today Lucy has a successful business producing modern items of clothing using traditional techniques such as eco-dyeing, focusing on natural dyes and upcycled clothing to make remastered pieces of art. Lucy is passionate about all things textiles and about sharing her knowledge.
Co-facilitating the workshop is grassroots organisation Little Red Toolangi Treehouse – named for the treehouse of the same name that was raised in the Toolangi State Forest during the longest tree-sit on the mainland of Australia, in 2013–14 (an act of support for locals keen to protect their forest from being made into paper). Since then the Little Red Toolangi Treehouse group has built an ongoing legacy of environmental education and acted as a beacon for native forest protection, drawing people from the city to have a genuine forest experience, both educational and inspirational.
The plan Explore the forest, get lost in your senses, learn about the plant life of the Dandenongs, and gather up material as you go. You will use this material later in the day to make your clothes beautiful, stylish and textured – naturally! This is an art embedded with life and nature, an experience for our senses and creativity.
Then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get busy: you’ll learn how to extract colours from the plants you have collected, mordant the fibres, and make some beautiful pieces of cloth.
The fruits of your labour By the end of the day you will be equipped with the knowledge required to prepare and mordant your fibres, plus the basic techniques of extracting colour from plants to make beautiful pieces of cloth. Not only that – there will be a special focus on ecology: you'll learn about the superb native flora, their names and properties, and explore the local area with a knowledgeable guide. This ecosystem is unique, an area that is world-renowned and studied. In addition to explaining how the area connects to the great Central Highlands Mountain Ash forests of Victoria, we will also explain the risks the area faces. This course aims to impart many insights into the life behind the materials, so that your foraged matter will create a lasting impression – all of it captured in the beautiful piece of dyed cloth which you will take home.
The kit required Please bring a light-coloured garment to transform, such as a singlet or long-sleeve top, T-shirt or leggings. It should be an item with as much cotton content as possible, or a wool, silk or linen piece (purchased from the op shop or brought from home). We encourage trying most things, though be aware they will likely have different results (which is half the fun, but can sometimes be disappointing). If you have any old nuts and bolts, chains or small pieces of rusty things, or small copper pipes, you can also bring these along to use in dyeing your garment.