Color your world using natural elements with Camp Contemporary instructor Jessica Petrus
Camp-in-Place #AtHomeArt projects from Camp Contemporary instructors and Youth and Family staff. Sponsored by SONIC Drive-In.
The natural environment can be a source of endless inspiration, especially now when many of us are staying home more than ever. To help you bring the outside in, we recently brought you an #AtHomeArt project inspired by Bright Golden Haze artist Yatika Fields, with step-by-step instructions on sourcing and building your own paintbrushes made from natural materials.
This week, Camp Contemporary instructor Jessica Petrus brings the same spirit of artistic exploration to the world of natural dyes. Inspired by our Natural Dyeing and Eco-Prints camp, this earth-friendly project — the latest in our Camp-in-Place series — uses elements found in nature to create vibrant colors to transform fabrics. Use the materials below, or experiment with different flowers, fruits or vegetables.
Let's get started!
- One quart of blueberries (you may also use five cups of bright flowers or vegetables, such as irises, roses, carrots or spinach)
- Cotton fabric (white T-shirt or pillowcase)
- Large pot (older pot recommended; blueberries may stain pot)
- Four teaspoons of cream of tartar
- Place blueberries in pot and fill with water.
- Bring berries to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
- While you wait, dampen cotton fabric.
- Strain out plant material and keep all water in pot.
- Add four teaspoons of cream of tartar to pot.
- Add damp fabric to pot, keeping the vat warm/simmering for at least 20 minutes.
- Once fabric has reached your desired color, remove pot from heat and let everything cool down to room temperature.
- Rinse fabric with cool water until the water runs clear.
- Hang in the sun to dry.
- Hand wash with soap.
- Share your dyed project online using #AtHomeArt!
Jessica Petrus is an Oklahoma-based artist and instructor. She was scheduled to teach Natural Dyeing and Eco-Prints at Camp Contemporary, whose summer programming has largely been cancelled due to COVID-19.
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