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Wild Fabrics: A Day in Monsanto

On July 3rd, a group of curious, plant-loving humans spent the day in Monsanto Forest Park to learn about natural dyeing with me and Tamara from Distinto Studio. From plant to fabric, participants deepened their connection to Lisbon's trees and learned new skills.

We started the day with a walk through Lisbon's Monsanto Forest Park - a huge stretch of greenery in the middle of the city. Monsanto is full of oaks, pepper trees, grevistas, maples, and eucalyptus which can be taken advantage of for ecoprinting and dyeing.

I showed participants where to look when identifying trees and how to sustainably forage their dye material. Each person was invited to take time to feel the plants, observe their growing patterns, and choose what they wanted to dye with.

The walk ended in a picnic area where Tamara was waiting with snack and dye stations. After a short break we split in two to learn how to ecoprint and naturally dye.

At the ecoprinting station we mordanted fabrics with an easy iron water mordant, learned to create a composition, how to fold and tie the bundle, and tips for steaming.

Meanwhile, at the other table. Tamara demonstrated shibori folds to tie dye the fabric with eucalyptus leaves that we collected on the way. After cooking, the fabrics were modified with iron to shift the colors! Magical to say the least.

In the end, everyone left the workshop with a fresh perspective on their surroundings and new skills. Learning to ecoprint and naturally dye with locally abundant materials is a versatile skill that can be applied to paper or fabric crafts. It requires very little in terms of materials and will open your eyes to a world of color hidden in plain sight.

The next Wild Fabrics workshop will be held on October 9th or 16th, 2021. Comment below if you have a preference or sign up to the newsletter to be notified when we open registration.

Photos by Andrea Huber

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