As many know, I am currently attending an artist residency at KunstKollektivet 8B in Denmark. During my time here, I have been using natural dyes to create the color pallete for my work. My fiber art has always had the appearance of the sea floor, and it was no shock that I was instantly inspired by the Danish sea.
When I first arrived, I was told that seaweed could be used as a natural dye, so I immediately wanted to experiment. I biked down to the beach to collect bags and bags of seaweed and recycled bottles of seawater. It was definitely a work-out, riding my bike back home with a heavy backpack filled with smelly algae and saltwater, but I soon found a topic of expansion, and a magical start of something new. I was hooked on seaweed!
I soon found out that there are 10 different types of seaweed that grow in the area, and that there are several people here experimenting with its use in the culinary industry. I got to try some homemade seaweed pesto, as well as some fried seaweed chips made by a local, and talked to her about her interest in seaweed as a highly nutritious addition to your diet.
After 2 months in Denmark, I have decided to continue my research in my current state of residence, Oregon! I want to explore the endless possibilities of seaweed-use in the textile industry. I plan to do this by researching the use of several types of seaweed as a dye with different materials, mordants, and other variations that will give countless opportunities for color, fastness, and use of the material in fashion, interior design, and other aspects of the textile industry.
I hope you follow along on my journey through this project that I am so passionate about! If you have any materials that you would like to donate to me, please reach out and I can let you know what I need! I am applying for funding/grants and hope that others see the outreach and message of sustainability that this project could have.
Below are some photos of some of the beginning stages of this project. Experimentation, exploration, and research!
My first experiments - non-mordanted cotton dyed with a mixture of bladderwrack and toothed-wrack seaweed.
Beautiful subtle spots and changes within the dye - cotton dyed with bladderwrack and toothed-wrack seaweed.