Botanical Bounty: A Natural Dye Retreat
A sweet recipe for a beautiful life. Nurture a sustainable and conscious relationship with nature, through the inquiry of intuitive art making in the form of natural dye: nature, art, creativity and spirituality.
This four-day retreat will introduce you to the beautiful, slow craft of Natural Dyeing.
Over the course of the weekend you will learn the basics (and beyond) of selecting and preparing natural textile fibers to receive colour, and the slow, patient art of extracting colour from a variety of plant materials, including discarded food items from the kitchen!
You will learn how to fix natural dyes to fabric, and which dyes are colourfast (ones that last) or fugitive (ones that don’t). We’ll explore several methods of folding, tying & dyeing to create patterns yield incredible designs.
Meet Your Natural Dye Facilitator, Wendy Martin:
Wendy, a long-time facilitator at Northern Edge Algonquin, is the creator behind Muskoka Tye Dye botanicals, an arm of Muskoka Tye Dye, a textile dye company run by Wendy & her husband Jason. They describe themselves as “visual storytellers,” designing garments as “Colour Therapy For The Soul.”
Sustainably harvested colour, foraged & extracted from nature – specifically local plant derived colour – is Wendy’s primary interest. Vibrant colour can be found in an array of plant materials, flowers & barks. Impressions & “eco-prints” are created from a wide cross-section of leaves. When transferred onto textiles & paper with the application of heat, a kind of magic is generated. Wendy refers to this as “nature’s poetry.”
Natural colour spectrums can be shifted by using an array of minerals which provide an endless realm of natural colour palettes. Wendy first learned about natural dyeing when she discovered how to extract pigment from avocado pits & peels. A most excellent discovery. 4 years later, and many more discoveries in processing natural plant dyes & inks, Wendy is thrilled to be blending her love of nature, creation, movement & well being into the community.
As a movement & embodiment educator for 18 years, Wendy weaves movement exploration, meditation, energy medicine, writing practices and nature celebration/connection into her facilitation.
The synergy of inner and outer cycles, such as the lunation’s, season’s and our personal life cycles, inspire her art, facilitation & creative evolution and quest for well being.
“The time spent in nature developing connection to your surroundings and your creativity hydrates the soul and I can’t wait to share these practices with you.” – Wendy Martin
Here is how we will fill our days (while honouring space for rest and restoration, of course):
Each day will begin with a gentle movement, breathing practice to encourage a flow state (the highly valuable state of being that encourages creativity).
This will help us open to all inner and outer channels to receive our highest intuitive feedback, while dissolving stiffness in body and mind. The meditative movement & energy practices Wendy offers are suited to all ranges of mobility and ages.
These offerings are a big part of her own creative art process as well as a cornerstone to overall well being.
Weather permitting these will be offered outside & are optional.
Skills You Will Learn:
- Foraging in a sustainable & conscious manner for plant material like flowers, berries & barks (gathering windfall wherever possible) to dye with
- Learning what is available to us in this local bioregion in terms of natural colour & create impressions
- How to choose natural textiles & the difference between working with cellulose & protein fibres
- How to scour (wash) & prepare (mordant) fabric to receive colour
- How to use mineral modifiers & salts to shift colour
- Immersion dyeing
- Solar dyeing
- Bundle dyeing (water saving dye technique)
- Creating colour from kitchen scraps
- Naturally dyeing paper
- Tying and resistance techniques to create different styles & patterns on fabric
- Learning the several different types of naturals dyes – plant, flower, insect & mineral dyes
- How to gather & store your fresh dye materials for projects down the road
This will be a weekend dedicated to spending time in communion with our bodies, hearts, breath, creativity, community and environment. Sharing a balanced range of artful activities and down time will encourage you to stretch into your whole creative, inquiring self.
- Botanical Bounty Program Fee: $450/person (Register before May 1, 2021 for a $50 early bird discount)
- Meals & Accommodations: from $899/person depending on choice of cabin.
Program fee includes all textile & garments used for dyeing, dye materials (unless foraged on site), facilitation & instruction.
September 16 – 19, 2021
Some words from our guests…
- "Thank you for a truly transformative weekend! Wonderful accommodations, spectacular scenery, and delicious meals! I met new people from all over Ontario and we shared stories and supported each other through the journey of resetting our habits, which will lead us towards self-love and positivity."
-Melanie MacKinnon, September 2021
- "It is hard to describe in words how much I love the Edge. Feeling beyond grateful for an experience filled with awe and wonder. Far more fulfilling than a week down south and has restored my childhood love of the winter! Every person, place and thing at the Edge contributed to an experience that left me replenished, whole and happier than I had been in months... Staff at the Edge helped me figure out how to help myself. Leaving me able to replenish myself in my regular crazy and hectic life!"
-Joanne Hofinger, February 2018
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- "Awesome stay, the food is top notch, the location and accommodations are amazing, the people warm and fantastic. I would highly recommend Northern edge to anyone looking to get away, just breathe it all in."
-Debbie Hope, August 2020
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- "I gave myself the gift of the habit reset and it has given me more than I expected. I was given a chance to rejuvenate, recharge and reset. From tiny yoga on the dock to walks in the forest before breakfast, to workshops and well balanced group activities and time alone, all helped me to rediscover my core values. When you surround yourself with beauty and peace, you can reset tiny habits to find and create beauty and peace. Thank you for this amazing experience!"
-Kelly-Ann Perras, September 2021