• Kayla Powers

Local Color | Natural Dyes of Detroit



I have been studying local natural dye plants in Detroit for the past two years and have studied the art of natural dyeing for many more years. A few months ago I applied for a grant through the Knight Foundation to continue this study and to create a public, outdoor display of woven textiles using local natural dye plants. I'm so excited to share that my project was chosen!


Over the next year, I will work with two apprentices from the College for Creative Studies to research a handful of plants that we will then use to dye Michigan grown wool and to weave 8-10 tapestries. These weavings will be hung up on the Dequindre Cut in September of 2020 as a public display of art that is open and free for all. There is so much amazing public art in Detroit and I am honored to be able to contribute this piece.


Another part of this project that I'm really excited about is getting to collaborate with so many other artists, gardeners, farmers, photographers, builders, weavers, writers etc. I'm working with Hoof-To-Hanger Fiber Mill in Bridgman, MI to create the ideal yarn for the project. I'll be visiting them in November and can't wait to see the sheep! Throughout the next year, I will highlight the different folks I'm working with. Naturally, it begins with the fiber.


Through this work and my commitment to locally sourced fiber and color, I'm hoping to inspire a deeper connection to place and an appreciation for the natural world here in Detroit.


The funding I received through the Knight Foundation is a matching grant, meaning that I will need to raise funds as well. To do this, I am selling prints of some of my favorite photos in my shop and I have also included a "Contribute to Local Color" button at the bottom of the page. Any contributions can be written off for taxes. I would also be very happy to speak with anyone who wants to hear more about the project or has any questions about contributing.


Thank you for reading all of this! I'd love to hear your thoughts/comments/questions etc.


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