Permacouture Institute is an educational non-profit for regenerative design in fashion and textiles. Permacouture Institute supports healthy integration between nature and culture. We encourage cross-pollination between sustainability movements and preservation of traditional textile methods, sparking innovation in the process. We work with hands-on grassroots projects to support sustainability and textiles. We research sustainable plant-based dyes and recycled fibers, and consult and educate in the realm of sustainable textiles by looking closely at patterns already found in nature. Permacouture Institute was founded to encourage creativity in where our materials come from and the social practice that supports it. Over-consumption and toxic run-off from the clothing and textile industry has increased environmental and cultural degradation. We specifically target healthy practices and encourage the exploration and implementation of regenerative design from the smallest seed to the wellspring of new growth. Clothing and textiles have long been connected not only to material necessity, but also to celebration of culture, ethno-botany, creative re-use and innate sense of place. Permacouture Institute explores fashion and textiles from a dynamic and ecological perspective, offering optimal solutions for change. See our website, www.permacouture.org for more information. Email us at info@permacouture.org Sasha Duerr sasha@permacouture.org Katelyn Toth-Fejel katelyn@permacouture.org

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A Dinner to Dye For as part of London’s Chelsea Fringe

Permacouture was thrilled to host a Dinner to Dye For as part of the first ever Chelsea Fringe, an alternative festival to the Chelsea Flower Show made up of over 100 ‘horticultural happenings’ all over London with such features as the pothole gardener and secret garden wildlife hotels

The misty morning made for a fragrant dyeing session in the a shady garden of the Hackney City Farm where guests tried their hand at dyeing with elder leaves, queen anne’s lace, rhubarb, onion skins, dock roots and iron. The sun came out in the afternoon for our foraging walk around the perimeter of the farm, and after conversations about rosehips and wild chamomile we returned in time for dinner. 

And what a dinner it was. The menu was crafted by Chef Beatrice Ferrante using the dye plants in her cocktails, starters and mains. Finally referencing the earlier rhubarb mordanted fibres, the meal finished with a dessert of cold vanilla and mahlepi rice pudding with baked rhubarb and strawberry compote topped with crumbled pistachio halva. Dinner was served on lovely tableware custom made for the day by Owen Wall using iron and other colorants inspired by the dyeing. 

Including the wonderful guests from varied backgrounds, it was an incredible mix of artists, makers and thinkers and we’ll be digesting it for a while. 

Flowers and general pinache were provided by Helen Z B Wilson and many thanks to Liz Spencer and Mark Windsor for your indispensable assistance. 


Photography by Roman Skyva and Liz Spencer

Colors from the Dinner to Dye For in London - Spring 2012

Images from last Sunday’s Dinner to Dye For in collaboration with Emma Rigby and Here Today Here Tomorrow. We started on Saturday with a foraging expedition in the Hackney woods, looking for nettle and dock root with Bagel the dog. Being the last week in March the best edible dyestuffs to be had were bright young nettle leaves the first outdoor rhubarb and the tender sorrel leaves. We dyed with the roots of sorrel’s wild cousin, broad leafed dock which as many people know can be found growing next to stinging nettle and is an antidote to the sting. I can certainly vouch that this works after last weekend. 

Dock root and nettle in the dyepot

Dye samples from dock root, yellow onion skin, mint nettle and rhubarb leaves

The guys at Farm Direct helpfully gave us as much rhubarb leaf as we could carry home. These were boiled down and used as a plant based mordant (If you decide to try this one consult natural dye literature as rhubarb leaves are toxic). That means many of the colours we made on Sunday were 100% from plants which is splendid of course.

In the straw bale room at Hackney City Farm

And then on to dinner… nettle spaetzle, toast with sussex slipcoat cheese with sorrel butter and nettle almond pesto … among other dishes

Tussar silk dyed with onion skins and a rosehip fizz cocktail

Thank you to all our guests who came to dinner, to Hackney City Farm for such an inspiring space and to all the helpers who made it great.  

Most of the photographs are courtesy Roman Skyva. To book a space at the Summer Dinner to Dye For in London, email katelyn@permacouture.org