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Natural Dyeing with Food Waste with Liz Spencer the Dogwood Dyer

  • Brooklyn Grange Clinton Ave & Flushing Ave Brooklyn, NY, 11205 United States (map)
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Event Description

Using only organic plant matter such as food waste intended for the compost you will gain knowledge & experiment with the time honored art of natural dyeing with The Dogwood Dyer. In this class you will come away with an understanding of how to work with natural colors to achieve the most vibrant and long lasting results while learning about traditional tie & bind surface design techniques as well as how to create paints from plants.

Liz Spencer of The Dogwood Dyer will explain using homemade soymilk and minerals to bind the color, and demonstrate some of her favorite low impact dye extraction methods using kitchen scraps saved from local restaurants. Most everyone has had to donate or downcycle garments or linens at some point due to everyday wear, spills, accidents and laundry mishaps. Following the dye techniques from this class, you can mask unsightly stains using accessible dyes. This project is for anyone looking to create and experiment with beautiful colors while doing no harm to the planet, your home and your body.

No prior knowledge on textiles or dyes is required. Participants will leave with a color selection of natural textiles, the knowledge of tinting textiles using plants as well as info resources on how to repeat the process at home. Guests are also welcome to bring 1 small to medium sized garment or textile item to dye at the workshop. Stained items are wonderful for the dye pot so that they may have a new colorful life!

All food scraps have been collected and provided by Purslane Catering. They are the team behind Rucola, June, and Metta, and are proud to be New York's first trash-free and carbon neutral caterer. With a vegetable-forward cuisine and a slow-food ethos, we aim to provide beautiful, delicious, and sustainable food for all of your special events.


Liz Spencer is the dogwood dyer. She creates high quality hand made accessories & garments from ethically sourced fibers & dyestuffs. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Linfield College & a Master of Arts from the world's leading sustainable fashion graduate program 'Fashion Futures'  (formerly know as 'Fashion & the Environment') from the London College of Fashion and now teaches fashion, sustainability, and natural dyeing at Parsons the New School and FIT. She is a venture fellow at the Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator (BF+DA).

She has years of experience foraging, growing & processing natural dye plants. Liz also has years experience in subsistence & fiber farming sustainably with sheep, alpacas, llamas, goats, pigs & chickens. This work taught her much about the importance of the link between a happy balanced environment, happy animals, happy farmers & resilient local economies.


PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise specified, Brooklyn Grange will not provide credit or refunds for tickets purchased on our website for a workshop, dining event, yoga class, or tour.  Events take place rain or shine. Please understand that buying a ticket to one of our events is no different from buying a concert ticket, theater ticket, or movie ticket. You are always welcome to gift your class to a friend if you cannot make it!

Please let us know if you would like to attend but are unable to do so due to registration fees. We are happy to extend a discount or full scholarship to low income members of our community. If you know an organization or an individual who might be well served by this program, please tell them to reach out to us via email at Brooklyn Grange recognizes that everyone’s situation is unique and we understand that there are circumstances beyond income, but please consider that we have our own bottom line to hit, and an ecosystem whose health depends on the financial sustainability of our organization. Please consider your privilege (ie. education, generational wealth, parental and community support, partnership status and other circumstances that may offer you a safety net which allows more resilience when financial setbacks occur)* before reaching out. Note that we we may ask for proof of income before we are able to make a determination of eligibility.

*Thank you to our friends at Farm School NYC for this language.