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Fit To Be Dyed

Do you like serendipity? By which I mean, not the flick starting John Cusack and Kate Beckingsdale (although that film is some kind of adorable and exceedingly well acted), but the “wait, did all the stars in the heavens just align this very moment?t” sort of magic that sometimes happens. Well, I do. A. Lot.

Such was the case about two weeks ago. An editor from a new periodical wrote, asking if I’d be interested in writing a story for them about dyeing with botanical materials (I’ll tell  you who it is closer to publication time). I heartily agreed, as I’ve got a copy of their premiere issue and it’s just grand; I’d be more than thrilled to hitch our wagons together. The thing is, although I’ve dyed with fruits and vegetables and, well, coffee grinds, I hadn’t yet dabbled in dyeing with plant matter. In my usual intrepid spirit of a strong willingness to figure things out (and, hence, be able to write from a “beginner’s mind”, if you will, for my written audience), I ordered some books on the subject right away and started researching the topic online until the books arrived two days later.

And then. AND. THEN. Two days after the solicitation from the magazine, the May schedule of classes for Small Terrain, a local homesteading supply shop run by my enormously talented friend Natalie Pollard, arrived in my inbox. Guess what class was scheduled for May 15th? Natural dyeing with a local fiber artist. Boom. Done. Serendipity, all up in my inbox.

I took the class last night and it was packed with invaluable information. Lindsay Warf truly knows that of which she speaks. And it was embed with a sort of mystique, too, watching as all of these bits of fiber transformed and morphed into various shades with a bit of madder root, some alum, and, later, a touch of rusty nails.

If you’re in the Asheville area, do check out Small Terrain. Before the class, I purchased a bag of organic layer feed, a 6-pack of yogurt cultures, and various sized Weck Jars (Natalie has the best prices I’ve ever seen on this brand of jars, anywhere, hands down). Then I enjoyed a knowledgeably and affably led class, in the comfort of a beautiful store filled with equally lovely fellow attendees. I’ve taught two classes at the shop in the past, and just signed up to teach a canning class there this July (details to come). I adore this place.

Natalie has filled a void with Small Terrain. Sure, it’s exceptionally well-curated and filled with gorgeous items (HGTV Gardens even gave her shout out this week!), but it’s so very much more than that. It’s a community hub, a meeting place for classes and conversation and ideas to flow. It’s the kind of place that enriches the experience of living here.

7 Responses to Fit To Be Dyed

  • Elizabeth says:

    This looks amazing. I’m clicking away on the links, full of inspiration! As always, thanks :)

  • jessica says:

    Yet another post that makes Ashville seem freakin awesome! Wish I lived there…

  • Georgette says:

    What a satisfying craft. Thank you for sharing. I open each link you offer for more info and with each my smile grows and grows.

  • Alicia says:

    Wow. Small Terrain sounds awesome. Thanks for adding the link to the Weck Jars website.

  • Annie says:

    I so love Small Terrain. Natalie is always warm and friendly when we shop there, and she even directed us to our now favorite honey producer in Haw Creek. I’ve not yet had time to attend one of the classes there, but it’s on my list for this year (I really want to do the natural beauty products classes in the fall!)

  • kirsten says:

    I was there! A great time indeed. I ordered two of the books and i am looking forward to putting together a dyeing party soon. It is true… that i now look at the growth around my home SO differently. Great to see you there, even though I had to duck out before I could say hello.

  • Sumeera says:

    Really wish I was there to attend. I have a special affinity for hand dyed and hand loomed textiles. Can’t wait to see the final story.