Shetland Arts hosted an event on Friday 24 February, MAKE – DYE – GARDEN – GROW, which invited the public to come along and help celebrate some of their new projects supporting sustainability and re-use. 

The event marked the official launch of Shetland Arts’ Tool Library, Paint Recycling Scheme and Dye Garden.

The Tool Library is a community resource of tools and equipment, enabling people to mend, maintain, make and/or experiment without the need to buy new. It will help to save money and resources, reduce waste and promote creativity. Alongside it, the Community Repaint scheme will prevent unwanted but reusable household paint from entering the waste stream. It will be collected processed and resold at an affordable cost as part of the national Community RePaint scheme, sponsored by Dulux.

Visitors were also able to learn more about the new Community Dye Garden, which will provide a sustainable local resource for community benefit focusing on nature, creativity and wellbeing. A dye garden provides space for growing plants that can be used for their colour - everything from onions, heather and willow to marigolds and chamomile can create amazing dyes for fabrics and yarns, and have been used for hundreds of years to dye clothes.

Local textile artist and natural dyeing expert Bunchy Casey of Spindrift Craft joined the event with some fantastic samples of her natural dyed yarn and to offer her wealth of experience in developing colour from Shetland plants.

There was also a free workshop ‘Printing with Nature’ aimed at 8 – 12 year olds with visiting artist, Erien Whitouck, who made visits to a number of local primary schools during the week ahead of the event. In the workshop, Erien explained about how natural dyes can be used, and demonstrated the amazing colours that different plant species produce. Participants had the opportunity to do some printing using natural dyes and each created a printed fabric square that Erien will later assemble into a patchwork quilt for us to exhibit.

Shetland Arts has received funding to support all these projects; a Tool Library, Dye Garden, Dye Kitchen, Community Workshop and Paint Recycling Scheme, from Shetland Local Action Group through Community Led Local Development funding from the Scottish Government. These will be resources for community benefit focusing on nature, sustainability, creativity and wellbeing.

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