For an introduction to the Growing Colour Together project as a whole, please have a look at the project case study.
During WOVEN in 2023 Growing Colour Together continued to bloom in the Dewsbury, where we were delighted to present the collaborative textile installation Roving Lands which took over Crow Nest Park Wildflower Garden for one day only.
Artists Jane Howroyd, Natalie Linney & Waheeda Kothdiwala worked with local people to produce the textile installation. Paving its way around the walled wildflower garden, Roving Lands encompasses over one hundred textile pieces each individually designed to represent personal journeys through natural spaces.
The artists and members of the community worked together to learn about natural dyeing and create dye gardens. This included planning, designing and of course, planting! In these workshops, lots of experimenting and investigation of natural dyeing led to the creation of all of the silk scarves used in the ‘Roving Lands’ installation.
The dyes were created using locally-foraged plants, woad plants and also some plants that were grown in the community. Mud resist dyeing, rust printing, binding and bundling tie-dye techniques were all explored as well as eco-printing and a wax-resist technique known as ‘Batik’.
The scarves in the ‘Roving Lands’ installation take you on a journey through the natural world and the patterns on the scarves were created by mapping this journey around the local area and nature. After the celebration event all of the beautiful scarves created will be returned to their creators with instructions of how to recreate these scarves using natural dyes.
S2R, and Waheeda’s Wellbeing Group is a friendly, relaxed group that meets weekly to engage in arts, crafts and gardening projects.
The friends of Crow Nest Park are a voluntary community group working with park staff to raise funds, organise events and improve the environment for adults and children.
Thornhill Lees Allotments are a community-run allotment in Thornhill Lees, meeting every Monday from 11-1.
Transformers North are a social enterprise with the purpose of engaging and empowering vulnerable adults. They are currently creating a new growing space in Dewsbury Moor.
This project has been supported with funding from Kirklees Council, Arts Council England and West Yorkshire Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund.
Dewsbury-based Waheeda is a project worker at S2R, facilitating creative, outdoor and wellbeing workshops. Waheeda believes in seeing the beauty in the small things and inviting others to share in the experience.
Her sketchbook is how she sees the everyday world around her and believes that every sketch has a story to tell.
Landscape, nature & place throughout her work. Using textiles, form & print, she produces visual responses to current, historical, environmental & anthropological themes.
With a background in eco prints & natural dyes, Natalie utilises ancient dyeing techniques to make site specific prints documenting landscape & heritage. Natalie’s practice regularly develops to include new materials & ways of making, she seeks to fuse traditional crafts with modern concepts to preserve these methods whilst making them relevant today.
Born and raised in Dewsbury Moor, Jane has a diverse background in textiles and over 20 years’ experience working as a tutor and workshop facilitator, delivering socially engaged workshops.
Jane’s interest in natural dyeing started over 20 years ago when exploring historical dyeing processes. Jane has a passion for experimentation with natural dyes, delivering workshops and sculptural textile art.
Jane believes that art and craft are truly beneficial for wellbeing and her work aims to reach as broad an audience as possible.
In Dewsbury over 130 women and children engaged with the project in sessions from January – June 2023. Within these sessions the community engaged with knowledge sharing, growing, planting and making within the community group such as sharing recipes, growing techniques and techniques for wrapping fabric to make specific patterns. This activity all led to the creation and development of the final outcome for the showcase Roving Lands.
The project enabled the community groups to see their work develop from a workshop setting through to final outcome displayed as an installation. This allowed the community to take ownership of the outcome; individually their contributions were part of something much bigger. It was wonderful to see the community come along to the showcase day and spot their work amongst the 131 scarves displayed.
There was a desire from individuals and groups to find out more and to use this project as a springboard into more in-depth activities around natural dyeing activities. Many were interested in taking this project further in their groups or as individuals to explore other ways natural dyes could be used within textiles.
“I feel really pleased with the outcome; dyeing the scarves and being able to see a finished piece felt really fulfilling”
“I feel happy I’ve come here”
“Relaxed, really enjoyed it, it was therapeutic, the ladies were amazing”
“Happy, supported, enjoyed meeting new mums + kids- staff were lovely!”
What new skills or knowledge have you gained?
“How to use different types of flowers and plants”
“I gained more creativity”
“Natural dyeing using onion skins and rust”
“I learned about eco-printing using plants we foraged from the park”
“Many different tools and techniques to create”
The legacy of this project has taken many forms. The production of 131 scarfs made by the women and children of Dewsbury community groups will form a huge lasting legacy; each scarf was made by a member of the community and although it was only displayed for one day during the festival, all pieces were then gifted to the community to take home with them as a memory and individual piece of art. This was a sustainable and important way to demonstrate the many ways community art can be brought together into something magnificent and then distributed on a local level to give back and gift back to those involved in the making of this artwork.
This community also took part in many community events from online international talks, community planting dye garden workshops, green prescribing sessions and foraging sessions. These were all designed to support the legacy of the artists and community members involved in the project, to support the development of their skills and knowledge base around natural dyes moving forward.
The Dewsbury S2R Waheeda’s Wellbeing group will be continuing the work and the gardens are left in such a way that they will develop, plants will establish over time and flourish with care and maintenance from the community.
The Dewsbury groups also developed a legacy for women and girls in the area, encouraging women to plant, grow and be outside connecting to nature through shared making and growing activity. The groups engaged with our Mayor’s Fund activity on this project, and both local artists Waheeda and Jane played a huge part in contributing to this cross connection of activity in the Dewsbury area. As a result of this new connections and friendships have been made, patterns of working and ideas shared for new women’s gardening and community groups in the area.
Over 130 women learned and took away gardening knowledge, dyeing knowledge, growing and learning resources in the form of kits, seeds, packs, handouts and crowing cards. They developed community connection and learnt about changing consumer habits at a local level, exploring the potential for community dye baths and community working together outside to create art and green spaces.
Check out the Growing Colour Together case study for more about the legacy of the project as a whole.