Dyeing with the colors of nature | Upcycling of shirt #8

Yes! FOR KEEPS aims to rethink single use. How? By giving you 100 ways to wear your t-shirt longer. Longer than the season you bought it for, longer cause you can repair it, and longer because when you upcycle it into your favorite t-shirt, it is for keeps. For t-shirt #8, we collaborated with Maaike from Maaiketralala We can’t wait to share the result, and how she made it! This is a very photogenic topic, and a talented photographer!

How did you make the creation?

I made an ‘ode to galls’ t-shirt by:

Re-use : I found a light colored t-shirt at the monthly clothes swap ‘Krijg de Kleertjes Lunetten’ & swapped it for several black clothing items I no longer wear.

Foraging: I foraged oak galls to use as a natural mordant and Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare – boerenwormkruid) to use as a natural dye. (Please note that I take care to forage responsibly, ethically and sustainably –  I am a guest and take the ecosystem I am surrounded by (and part of) into account. Take only a small amount for personal use, do so without causing damage to the host tree or it’s surroundings, leaving enough of the plant to replenish itself and function as a food source or a host plant.

Grow: We are privileged to have a large organic allotment garden close to our home with several fruit trees and a small greenhouse.  With a mind always brimming with ideas it is a life saviour (mine & of the dear humans I live with 😉) to be able to get my hands in to the dirt and feel the stream of thoughts coming to a calm flow. The edible perennials we have managed to grow, the herb spiral and sensory play area we planned and built, the herbs that flourish and the dye plants that I have cultivated have proven to be essential for my being in these pandemic times.

Due to my health it has been especially risky to invite the village that sustains us into our home so I am grateful to invite our friends and family to our Tralala garden to remain socially close while keeping physically distant. No grand garden parties, but small dinners with a few friends sharing the harvest and thoughts of an eventful year.

Replenish: The dye plants were continually buzzing with bees and butterflies as I took care to sow flowering plants during every possible month in order to replenish the flowers I used to dye my ‘ode to galls’. I dried the oak galls for re-use, as enough tannins remain to ensure a future successful dye bath.

What did you make, and why?

“Ode to galls” – An essential part of this project was the use of oak galls. With this natural mordant I would not have been able to obtain the deep ochre color as tansy & rudbeckia generally dye a lighter hue of yellow.. <Details will be added later>

And check the results!


Read more?

Want to know more about Maaike? Read about her here. And you can check out all the green ideas, amazing garden or new projects on her Instagram .

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