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The Rockaway Dye Garden

The Rockaway Dye Garden hopes to grow flowers for natural dyeing and textile arts. Isabella Scott, an artist and fashion designer who has foraged around Rockaway Beach for wild plants for her work, dreams of a garden where she can grow beautiful flowers for natural dyes while sparking conversations on textile production, water and soil quality, and natural pigments. Edgemere Farm has just donated her a plot to make this dream a reality, and our January grant will support her efforts to cultivate this land.

How will this be different from any other garden? Imagine a space bursting with all blends of color, with different foliage putting out dizzying arrays of shades throughout the seasons. But that's not all. From each and every one of those plants, you can extract a color from its root or its flower, and then repurpose them for other uses like medicinal benefits. The garden will be continuously growing, flowering, and dyeing throughout the spring, summer, and fall. At the same time, it will also run community workshops on foraging and extracting dye, as well as sewing and crocheting.

We're excited that our January grant will help turn over a new leaf: the garden is an empty plot of land now, and our funding will go towards lumber to construct grow boxes, as well as seeds and plant starters. There are so many possibilities for how spaces in New York can be reimagined, and we're thrilled to support artists that are daring to dream about them.

The current plan is as follows:

  • Isabella will be collecting dirt from Syracuse in mid-February
  • By mid-march, everything should be in the ground as long as there is no frost
  • In June/July, we'll start to extract dyes!

We can't wait!

Funded by New York City, NY (January 2015)

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