BMAC hosts natural dye workshop on June 8

BRATTLEBORO-The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) invites the public to explore natural dye techniques in a workshop on Saturday, June 8, at the museum.

In collaboration with the Brattleboro Food Co-op, BMAC Manager of Education Kate Milliken leads two introductory in-person sessions at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The workshops will take place outdoors, under a tent, in BMAC's front-lawn sculpture garden on 10 Vernon St. In case of rain, the workshops take place on Sunday, June 9.

The morning session is suitable for all ages, but children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. The afternoon session is for ages 16 and up. Children 12 and under accompanied by an adult in the morning session pay only one admission fee.

Participants in both sessions will learn how to use commonly composted materials - such as onion skins, avocado peels, black beans, and spinach - to create richly hued dyes. The afternoon session will also include indigo. Participants can bring natural-fiber garments or fabrics to dye, or purchase a scarf, pennant, or bandana from BMAC to experiment with.

"Working with natural dyes is just another way to reconnect with nature and make use of items that would otherwise end up in the compost bin," Milliken said in a news release.

Milliken started making her own dyes when her children were young. "I wanted to do tie-dying with them, but didn't want to expose them to harsh chemicals," she says. Recalling a past natural dye workshop she led at the Co-op, Milliken says, "We had the whole rainbow in food scrap-based dyes - black beans for purple, kale/spinach for green, turmeric for yellow, beets for pink, avocado for a pale pink."

The workshop goal, she says, is not only to create a colorful and natural piece of fabric, but also to take a creative risk. "It's about experimenting and being open to not fully knowing what the outcome will be. There are so many possibilities."

Admission is $45 ($35 for BMAC members), and includes all materials. No experience is necessary. Space is limited, and advance registration is required; to register, visit or call 802-257-0124, ext. 101.

This Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

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