Community Sewing Circle

On a balmy September weekend afternoon we set up a sewing circle at the Burrillville Farmer’s market. Our cohort of students was able to reunite, and some had already made great progress on their personal projects, there was much fascination and joy shared at each others creativity. We brought many sewing machines and supplies. One of our students had never used a sewing machine before, and another taught her, they made a handbag together. It was exchange and growth in action, we were so excited to see how our cohort was turning into an energetic and supportive group. 

Passersby became interested, everyone was delighted and shocked at the beautiful colors and prints the students had to show off. Conversations on the power of the goldenrod began to grow beyond our workshop. How many lives can we touch through these teaching experiences? How many connections can we harbor, how many thoughts of seed and wonder can we plant?

“Super fun! Learned so much I can’t stop talking my friend’s ears off about it still.”— Workshop Student

The Forest-to-Fashion Show

Two weekends later we gathered one last time to show off and celebrate everyone’s final creations. We ate good food, listened to music, laughed, cheered, and strutted our way down our “catwalk”, situated right next to one of Rhode Islands historic textile mils, (no longer in use as such). Some participants went out and dyed and printed more fabric on their own! Others took other natural dye workshops and integrated their dyed fabrics into one article. Everyone had something very uniquely theirs, and something they will, no doubt, cherish and wear with great pride.

These articles are also a record, a wearable capsule of the essence of the woodlands, the hills and brush where these plants were gathered, the liveliness of the wind, the stories of geology and seed dispersing animals, and even of the people who occupied these lands before us. Our garments and accessories can be an expression of time and place, telling the world where we’ve been and what we love and cherish most, while moving with our bodies through the universe.

“I liked the ability to be hands on and walk away with something meaningful that I made.”— Workshop Student

How Can you be a Part of This?

The intent of our workshop is to bring people closer to nature, to build community, and to engage in acts of sustainable creation. The natural dye workshop happens because of land that is preserved in its natural state, enabling these connective encounters, conversations, and moments of awe. Preservation doesn’t happen by itself though. The land preservation stewarded by the Burrillville Land Trust is paid for by over 32 different organizations, foundations and gifts from individuals. Please support your local land trusts and park systems! Go for a hike, explore them! Support educational outdoors programs! Consider the legacy of your property for the future.

If you are interested in taking this workshop please get in touch with me and/or the Burrillville Land Trust. We hope to make this an annual event.

If you are interested in topics of sustainable clothing and the farm-to-fiber movement you can connect with the Fibershed movement.

If you are interested in hosting a similar workshop with your organization please reach out to me directly.

Words from our Students

“Wonderful experience. I really loved it!!!”

“It was a very positive experience; very glad to have participated.”

“Newbies were included and old pros did not present themselves as superior”


Thank you

We owe a major thank you to all the incredible people that made this program possible.

The Burrillville Land Trust - for inviting us to teach this workshop and working with us to organize such a rich curriculum. Check out their video here.

Clara Boberg - for their phenomenal job at helping to keep it all together

The Rhode Island Foundation for enabling the workshop and forest site improvements.

The workshop participants - for their wonderful spirit, curiosity, and positive attitudes.

The various educators - for their immense knowledge and passion for the subject and kind and caring teaching.

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