Sashoonya is a textile art and design company that creates sustainable textile products using local materials and dyes derived from our natural surroundings in New England.

By growing our own dye gardens, recovering and sustaining the disappearing traditions and knowledge of natural colors, and actively operating and advocating within our local farm-to-fiber+fashion community we generate gratifying, sustainable processes and products for ecosystems and people.

Our textile goods, infused with the colors and the essence of the landscapes we cherish, are talismans and symbols of a world that prospers through care and connectivity. Our belief is that our identities are interlinked with our natural world, and that textiles are an important mechanism for communicating and nurturing this connection.

Our Process

Working with hand-weaving, natural dyeing, and eco-printing techniques, Sashoonya crafts silk scarves, wall hangings, and clothing. We never employ toxic chemicals in our art. We dye our textiles with home-grown plant extracts, and carefully foraged macro-algae, (seaweed). We never use pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizer on our plants, only compost. Of course we compost all of our studio dye waste as well, and make sure to leave plenty of resources for other creatures in our foraging and growing practice.

Our color sources include indigo, marigold, goldenrod, sumac, avocado pits, and bladderwrack seaweed. Our wool and alpaca yarns are sourced from local farms while we experiment with growing our own linen fiber, (which we currently source from outside of the USA). We work with artisans in the Providence migrant and refugee community to perpetuate the art of hand weaving, a disappearing cultural heritage.

“We believe that beauty is a process, not only a product, and ours is one based on reciprocity with our natural environment.”— Sasha Azbel, founder

About the Founder

Aleksandra (Sasha) Azbel, is the founder and creative director of Sashoonya. Her experience as an immigrant, from Kazakhstan, and encounters with textile artisans around the world, have pushed her to explore questions of belonging, and how our natural environment is a part of our cultural identity.

Although, she is passionate about textiles and natural dyes, her background is actually in architecture. She studied architecture at Texas A&M, and at the Rhode Island School of Design, and continues her connection to the field by teaching part time in an architecture college. In 2019 she received a Fulbright scholarship to explore natural dyes in Sri Lanka, she used this opportunity to make a career change and explore her passion for natural dyes and textile craft.

While in architecture school, working on the banks of the Blackstone River in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the birthplace of the American industrial revolution, Sasha met folks who still recall when the river was the color of synthetic dye waste from the textile mills, killing the life of the river. During her education she also travelled and witnessed indigenous artisan communities in central America and Asia use non-toxic colors derived from plants for their textile making traditions. There was such a direct connection between the land and the textiles. This link carries with it a deep spirit, a pride in home and material culture. Sasha believes this connection ultimately brings us a sense of completeness, a sense of belonging, and, even a sense of beauty. Can we too, reclaim that connection and spirit? Can we bring back the textile industry in a way that is sensitive, regenerative, and expressive of our landscapes and our sensibilities?

To seek out the answers to those questions, and to prove their depth and strength, Sasha officially founded Sashoonya in 2021. She operates the practice out of her studio at the Nicholson File Arts complex in Providence, where she is part of an incredible group of talented artists. In the moments outside of her studio you can find Sasha salsa dancing the night away, mentoring at a local girl’s school, Sophia Academy, and spending time with her brilliant community of friends, without whose support Sashoonya wouldn’t be possible.