I'm sure it will come as no surprise to learn I took along my pots, rusty bits of metal, leaves and scarves to the Wild By Nature Village Camp last week for a spot of eco dyeing! I couldn't pass up the opportunity to dye outdoors with a group of people, foraging from the land and over an open fire. It's my favourite way to eco dye. Next time I want to get the water from the creek - then it will be the perfect craft connection to place.
Forty adults and kids came along over two sessions to learn the magic of eco dyeing. It is such a wonderful craft for all ages and a great way to connect to nature on a deeper level. As well as connecting to place, we also connected to plants. I asked the lovely Annie and Genevieve to speak about plant connection practices before we all went out foraging.
The key is to talk to the plant first, establish a relationship and then ask if there is something you can trade (hair, fingernail, saliva, a song) for some leaves, seed pods or bark. Saying thank you for the gift is also good manners.
I usually forage from the ground when using native plants because I don't want to harm them by picking leaves from the tree. After doing the plant connection I felt more comfortable about taking leaves from a plant.
Responsible wild crafting and foraging means harvesting from healthy plants, taking 10% or less of the plant and only taking if there is more than one plant of that type in the area.
When using natural materials and harvesting them straight from the land, we must remember plants are alive and they can feel pain. We need to honour their gifts and treat them with respect.