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Natural Dye Virtual Demo + Navajo Nation Mask Drive

May 14, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


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Learn how plants in your garden and pantry can provide color for your cloth mask, and help us send a bulk donation of California Cloth Foundry masks to the Navajo Nation Chinle Chapter.

Fibershed is sponsoring a virtual demonstration of natural dyeing a cotton mask with plants that are also known for their medicinal properties. Natural dyer, teacher, and ethnobotanist Deepa Natarajan will lead this 1-hour overview focusing on the process of dyeing a California Cloth Foundry organic cotton mask. She will introduce participants to a wide range of plants that are common to our kitchen and gardens and which can provide a colorful hue and rewarding creative process that is applicable to light-colored cotton fabrics. The virtual demonstration will include live, moderated Q&A, and will be recorded so that anyone who registers can access the video replay.


Our goal is to collectively provide 1000 masks to the Navajo Nation to support public health in a region with one of the highest rates of Coronavirus infection. Thanks to California Cloth Foundry’s cloth mask production using Organic US cotton and California-grown Cleaner Cotton, and ethical manufacturing in Los Angeles, we can come together to send a shipment of masks by May 15th.


Fibershed and California Cloth Foundry have joined together to organize the logistics of this mask drive effort, thanks to outreach by Mai Nguyen of Farmer Mai and the National Young Farmers Coalition, and Marie Hoff of Full Circle Wool

Mai and Marie inspired this donation effort after hearing from colleagues at the First Nations Development Institute that the Navajo Nation is seeking contributions in response to the high per-capita rate of Covid-19. To donate directly to the Official Navajo Nation Covid-19 Relief Fund, visit: https://www.nndoh.org/donate.html

California Cloth Foundry has provided mask donations to impacted communities through the “Buy One Gift One” program beginning in late March. California Cloth Foundry is a member of the Northern California Fibershed Producer Program and creator of a soil-to-skin, US grown and made supply chain. As the Los Angeles area began shutting down to reduce the spread of the novel Coronavirus, California Cloth Foundry engaged and transformed their existing supply network to produce masks “to serve our community and maximize our social, economical and environmental impact — with our regenerative cloth masks made from compostable plant based ingredients without harmful chemicals” said founder Lydia Wendt. Hearing of this effort, Solminer Wine Co., an Organic and Biodynamic wine producer in the Santa Ynez Valley of California, reached out to support a bulk donation of California Cloth Foundry masks. 

Joining together with California Cloth Foundry and Solminer Wine Co., Fibershed is sponsoring a virtual demonstration of natural dyeing to generate funds for additional masks, while providing a creative educational opportunity as part of our ongoing series of virtual demonstrations by Fibershed artisan members.

Deepa Natarajan is a member of the Northern California Fibershed community, co-authored 10 Plants for Color: A Simple Guide to Growing and Using Natural Dye Plants with Helen Krayenhoff, produced Verdant Color: The Bay Area Natural Dye Journal, and organizes the annual Fiber & Dye Exhibit at UC Berkeley Botanic Garden. In Deepa’s words: “I believe that gardens can be a source of all things we need, from foods to medicines, garments to shelters, beauty, and inspiration.”

Natural dyeing is a time-honored tradition throughout the world; in what is now known as the United States, the first naturally dyed wools emerged when the Navajo and Hopi tribes began to work with the sheep imported by the Spanish more than four hundred years ago. We honor and acknowledge the expertise and legacy of the Navajo Nation in natural dyeing, and invite you to learn more about their cultural practices here: Nizhoni Ranch News: The History of Creating Vegetal Rug Dyes; Navajo Times: Weaver Earns Best of Show for Dye Chart.

For further creative engagement, we encourage you to follow and support the work of contemporary Diné / Navajo fiber artists, including: Darci Rose, Naiomi Glasses, and Jennifer Berg. In Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes, Fibershed founder and author Rebecca Burgess celebrates the Navajo dye tradition and writes about the dye work of Navaho Dyer Rose Ann Dedman, as she experienced it through a class with Weaving in Beauty

We hope you will join us in this opportunity to learn together and support a community in need.


There are two ways to join this virtual demonstration:

  1. Register directly via Zoom if you want to join and learn from this class and you do not need a new mask for yourself. Your registration fee will allow us to donate 2 masks to the Navajo Nation. (You will not receive a mask).
  2. Purchase a mask directly from California Cloth Foundry by May 15th and you will receive a cotton mask that you can dye. One mask will also be donated directly to the Navajo Nation, and when you enter code “Fibershed” at check-out, you will be added to the registration list for the virtual demonstration.


May 14, 2020
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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