Desert Pigments // Desert & Denim

Photo by Colin McCarthy, zine by Jordan Vouga
Photo by Colin McCarthy, zine by Jordan Vouga

Juniper Ridge hosted a gathering in Joshua Tree back in February. The high desert weather can be unforgiving that time of year but it was clear and beautiful. Still adjusting to the cool, calm and collected Bay Area weather- I recharged in the hot desert sun, grateful for the opportunity to sweat.

Our small group from Oakland gathered quietly the first night then parted to get some rest for the busy days ahead.

The second evening sprawled out under the star filled sky. Steady whispers grew from the darkness into bustling talk and laughter. We fell silent when Melaena Cadiz sang by the campfire against a glowing rock wall backdrop. Poets sang and campers squeezed in to listen and share the campfire.

Each tent had its own origins. Pete and Tony of Tellason came in from San Francisco, Mats and Kari of Indigofera flew into southern California and rode in on bikes, Cate of Havstad Hat Co drove down from Oregon, Margaux and Walter of Peg and Awl traveled in with their boys, Noel and Fletcher of Gnome Life sold albums, and the Fellow Barber crew flew in from east and west and constructed a barber shop on the desert floor.

Photo by Skyler Greene
Photo by Skyler Greene

I hosted a native plant and indigo dye station both Thursday and Friday. I packed Mt. Tam-native Toyon and coastal sagebursh but the night before the event, I tested a different plant, native to the desert and a fragrant contributor to Juniper Ridge harvests: Creosote. Oily and covered in flowers, I submerged the whole plant in warm water and a golden hue poured out. Testing fabric samples as the resinous florals wafted over me in the steam, I bathed in the discovery of this new dye plant, hearty with color.

Photo by Skyler Greene of Candy Mountain Collective
Photo by Skyler Greene of Candy Mountain Collective

Everyone delighted in overdyeing the creosote golds with indigo. Rob Jungmann brought hemp tees from Jungmaven for the dye baths. Jody Dunphy of Second Nature Project made and dyed hemp paper from Jungmaven production waste. A few artisans dyed their wares. Morten of For Holding up the Trousers dyed his handmade suspenders, pictured far left in photo below.

Photo by Skyler Greene
Photo by Skyler Greene
Photo from Rawr Denim

Read about it:
Rawr Denim
Seaweed & Gravel
Iron & Resin

Desert Pigments // Desert & Denim

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