Dye Assist // Wildcraft Studio School

Cherry Plum Tree dye bath
Cherry Plum Tree dye bath

WildCraft Studio School is a creative mecca for traditional skills, plant medicine, studio art and craft, located in White Salmon, Washington. If you’re a dyer, chances are- you follow WIldCraft in some format. Founder Chelsea Heffner drove down from the PNW to teach a native plant dye workshop in partnership with Healdsburg SHED owners, Cindy Daniel & Doug Lipton. Chelsea and I met over the airways and I drove up to assist with an unexpected large class on May 31st.

Chelsea is a multi-disciplinary artist and Assistant Professor at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. She led the workshop and a native plant walk through Cindy and Doug’s wild gardens before harvesting several dye plants for the class to test. Among them were wild fennel, cherry plum tree, and black walnut.

Walnut dye bath
Walnut dye bath

We simmered the baths for 30-45 minutes before filtering them into dye vessels. Each student had silk and wool samples, mordanted with various minerals. They took turns soaking their samples in steaming baths- some experimenting with shibori. By the end of the class, we’d tested 7 natural plant dyes.

My favorite moment was a listening to a conversation between Chelsea and another participant about a weaving class she’d hosted. The artist and teacher, a Native American man, was reluctant to teach anyone outside of the tribe. He made an exception and taught Chelsea’s favorite workshop to date- a highly challenging, multi-day workshop on hat weaving with native plants. Chelsea said each student walked away full of appreciation and pride.

Follow WildCraft Studio School on Instagram, here.


Cindy and Doug’s home was an enchanting backdrop to the workshop. They built the home after returning from an inspiring stay in France and added sustainable features like rammed earth walls. Although they have an orchard and some landscaping, they’ve been working to restore the rest of the property to wild native gardens.

Cindy & Doug's home in Healdsburg, CA
Cindy & Doug’s home in Healdsburg, CA

Interested in attending one of WildCraft Studio School’s Classes? Click here.

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Dye Assist // Wildcraft Studio School

Juniper Ridge X Jungmaven High Desert Tees

Soaking Creosote bush for the dye bath
Soaking Creosote bush for the dye bath

Juniper Ridge transforms the intangible wilderness into perfume. I work in our Oakland workshop distillery among a sharp group of fragrant women and men. Jungmaven is a hemp knitwear brand based in Los Angeles working to promote industrial hemp production that would reduce cotton growth that’s detrimental to the environment.

Jungmaven founder, Rob Jungmann and Juniper Ridge founder, Hall Newbegin, have been friends for a while. Two parts of a small network of west coast sustainable apparel and fragrance brands. I wouldn’t be surprised to find either one comfortably asleep on the beach or under a California redwood. They travel light and feel at home when they’re on the road, outdoors and sharing ideas.

We spent 3 days together in February at Desert & Denim where I discovered the potent dye potential of one of our perfume ingredients, Creosote Bush. I used it in my dye workshops during the show to the delight of the crowd.

Photo by Skyler Greene
Creosote dye bath at Desert & Denim, photo by Skyler Greene

It was Jessica Arkenstone, Juniper Ridge Marketing Director, and Jordan Vouga, our Art Director, who dreamt up the High Desert Tee. The project was underway with the return of the wildcrafting team with bushels of Creosote Bush. I transformed the Juniper Ridge loading bay into a small dye house for 2 weeks, sampling prototypes with various mordants. We settled on a worn desert green and celebrated the painted dye pattern.

Jordan sporting the High Desert Tee on his roadtrip across the desert
Jordan sporting the High Desert Tee on his roadtrip across the desert

The project is featured in Trail Notes, Juniper Ridge’s blog. Here’s an excerpt from my interview with chief storyteller, Obi Kaufmann.

When asked about the relationship between wilderness perfume and natural plant dyes, Celine says, “I remember talking to Joshua Tree locals – people who grew up there. They explained that the scent of Creosote is their memory of rain. When it rains, the steam carries creosote oils into the wind creating a potent musk. Only after experiencing rain in another landscape did their memory of Joshua Tree rain become meaningful. Scent doesn’t come in a singular form. It exists in the air, in perfume and (now) the fibers of our clothing.

“Scent doesn’t come in a singular form. It exists in the air, in perfume and (now) the fibers of our clothing.”

There’s no way to ensure consistency with natural plant dyes without chemicals. That’s why they’re so lovely. Each bath is the discovery of a plant’s life cycle and subsequently a new journey. Isn’t that what we’re all striving for? Carving out a unique story with plant dyes is exactly what Juniper Ridge does with harvest stories. No two batches are the same, each reflects a specific time and place.

Wanna check out the High Desert Tee? Click here to shop Juniper Ridge Field Labs.

Juniper Ridge X Jungmaven High Desert Tees

Ancestry Quarterly X Jungmaven Tees

ancestry_jungmaven_tee

Ancestry Quarterly is a print publication. The magazine’s writers and designers have three jobs- their day’s work, the publication, and a new and burgeoning creative agency. They’re walking the ropes and reaching always for more. AQ is a forum for that middle ground, the space between “day job and dream job”.

Lauren and Jordan, AQ Art & Marketing Directors, asked if I could help with a natural dye project for new tee shirts. We tested a few plants but decided on walnut for its dark color, lack of mordanting required, and availability. WalnutsWe harvested walnuts off the ground that’d been there for a year and soaked them for one day in a large stainless steel pot. The walnuts simmered the next day for 45 min and we extracted a rich brown-black hue. After a three man filtration step, and two hours of Jordan’s shibori work, the tees were added to the bath.

These weren’t just any old tee shirts- they’re Jungmaven. Made from drought-hardy hemp, Rob Jungmann’s knits are the product of years of experiments and going back to the drawing board. His goal is “Everyone in hemp by 2020,” and if you felt the hand of his tees, you wouldn’t mind replacing your Hanes with his hemp.

“The more farming of industrial hemp the better for the environment. Hemp cleans oxygen, water and nourishes the land. Hemp uses very little to no pesticides or insecticides and needs a fraction of the water that cotton takes to grow.”
— Rob Jungmann

It’s easy to work with a label like Jungmaven as their culture and values feel good and fit with my own.

Two full days of work and one wash later, the shirts are marked with the twisted memories of Jordan’s shibori binds and the slow steel grays of the walnut bath. This is my second collaborative project with Jungmaven tees. The hemp and cotton blends absorb natural dyes easily, and each time- the end result in an expression of the dyers themselves. This time- adventurous, spiraling, layers and layers of complex skeletal folds.

shibori_closeup

Ancestry Quarterly X Jungmaven Tees