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.
August 4 – 7, 2022
September 22 – 25, 2022
Some words from our guests…
- "A beautiful space to escape from the city, technology and enjoy nature surrounded by a gorgeous family-style lake house. Chef Greg was my favourite addition, his food was wonderfully prepared, locally & organically sourced, and SO delicious! You could really tell he loved what he does. Yoga studio has a fantastic view of the lake, and every part of the space was thoughtfully and beautifully designed - would highly recommend and will definitely be back."
-Ashleigh Martin, September 2018
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- "Chef Gregor was a magician at creating fabulous meals from his tiny kitchen overlooking the snow covered lake. He had his guests drooling with anticipation as he recited before each meal the local ingredients (from herbs to meats, fresh pressed basil oil to Scotch ale) that composed his menu of organic delights. His passion for the environment and partnering with local growers make each meal an adventure in its own right. And he met each dietary request with ease, including glutin-free and vegan. Everyone raved over each meal. And so we were all content to contribute to the technology free environment by hand washing our dishes in hot sudsy well water, laughing with our new friends over drying and putting away techniques. Ending the day with a cup of their incredible blend of organic coffee or hot chocolate, especially after a late afternoon skate on the pond or a game of cards with other visitors, was an added bonus."
-Brenda Morgan, January 2016
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- "Gregor (The Chef/The Carpenter) is amazing. Like will you marry me, get in my trunk, I'll never eat another meal again kind of amazing. The food he makes is creative and what real farm to table was meant to be. He describes every dish with the care of someone who knows when and where each item was picked. Waiting for that dinner bell was a pavlov's dog experience each time."
-Cheyenne Byng, August 2017
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- "Heaven on earth! This place is so amazing, if you are looking to escape the noise of the city, and unwind, you will not regret coming here. The hospitality and food are incredible, the place is spacious and has lovely grounds. A huge thank you to the amazing chef Greg, the awesome Tim, who played music and sang for us at night, and the wonderful family who own the land and let us into their home. Thank you thank you thank you! We will be back for a winter retreat for sure!"
-Ahmad Atalla, July 2018
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