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