In early May of this year, long before announcing the opening of Handwork House, while I was still running a childcare business, I planted about twenty varieties of flowers and plants in the new Handwork House Fiber & Dye Garden. The garden is a small 10x20 foot plot located in the Wheatland Community Garden just outside the city in Lancaster Township. The goal of the dye garden is not necessarily to produce massive quantities of dye but rather to serve as an educational tool. Each year, as some of the perennials grow I will be able to divide the plants and someone else can begin to plant a dye garden somewhere in Lancaster. As the annual flowers begin to dry I will save the seeds to be planted again the following year, again with seeds to spare for others to plant. The hope is that each of those new gardeners will begin to share their plants as well and we will all be able to research and experiment and explore plants as natural dye materials as a community. (Also the bees love a good dye garden)...
Cosmos ready to harvest for a beautiful golden yellow dye
I envision this learning model for Handwork House in general. Although I have lots of knowledge to share from more than 20 years of experience with fiber as a medium, I hope that Handwork House will become a place where people can come together as a community to learn, not only from me, but from all of our collective knowledge of fiber to further advance the art form as a whole.
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!