Nature supplies the colour for eco friendly work

21 May 2020

Nature supplies the colour for eco friendly work

Local artist Retritus (aka Norton Fredericks) is being supported by our Rage Against the V(irus) fund for Printing Place with Botanicals, an eco-printing project.

With a strong sustainability ethos, they will spend a week gathering native plant matter to dye wool, silk, linen and hemp, and then use the material to create a patchwork mural. By using only natural materials, fibres and botanical dyes the work will be both eco-friendly and compostable.

Retritus told us:

‘I have always been extremely creative and my main passion for about 10 years was photography and then a few years ago I started sewing but everything changed for me when I went to a talk given by Jane Milburn at World Environment Day. Jane has a background in journalism and agriculture and is now a natural fibre/ sustainability educator, after seeing her talk my entire outlook on the way I create changed. I began experimenting with natural dyes, started using only natural fibres and even learnt how to felt so I can create my own textiles. I was no longer happy with just using fabric bought from a shop, I wanted to learn ancient crafts and processes while giving meaning to the textiles I use.

‘The idea for this project arose because I had a few workshops booked in which obviously had to be cancelled due to the Covid lockdown and I realised this would be the perfect opportunity to launch a free online tutorial for people who have interest in natural dyes. This craft is perfect for those in isolation because it can be practiced as a solitary artist and promotes mindfulness as you have to be out in nature to gather your dyestuff. Natural dyeing is a slow process with many different outcomes so it’s a great activity to do while we are still in lockdown from this virus, it also gives participants an opportunity to reinvent their existing wardrobe. I wanted to explore themes of sustainability and resourcefulness with this project as it encourages people to think about what they can utilise from around the house and garden. I hope Printing Place with Botanicals really gets people thinking about the story of textiles – about how we can achieve beautiful colours and prints without having to use detrimental synthetic chemicals, how important natural fibres are and to move away from fast fashion by taking action and placing ourselves in the roles of garment creators.

‘I haven’t had any challenges working on this project due to isolation and for the most part people tend to stay away from the odd character collecting leaves!’

You can check out Printing Place with Botanicals here.


Printing Place with Botanicals has been supported by HOTA, Home of Arts through HOTA’s Artist Fund: Rage against the V(irus).