Case Study

Growing Colour Together


Growing Colour Together is more than a project, it’s a MOVEMENT! And our ambition is to create a district-wide, natural-dye, colour garden! We worked in partnership across the district, aiming to give everyone the opportunity to ‘have a grow,’ use what’s grown to make natural dyes, and learn about the environmental implications of chemical dyes and what we buy. 

Growing Colour Together is an evolving project and we wanted people to join in with the areas that interested them. Grow, make, create, debate! 

In the run up to the festival in 2023 we:

  • set up three community hub projects where seven artist have been working in residency with communities to develop gardens and new work
  • awarded 15 small grants of £100 to get community groups and schools started with their colour gardens
  • hosted three international talks with speakers from America, Canada and Mexico
  • set up an online platform to share practice and to find new practitioners
  • ran a series of community and artist CPD sessions including foraging walks, natural dye tours and a growing colour together Symposium at the University of Huddersfield.

get involved

A natural dye garden gives eco-friendly, natural dye pigments and stains for textiles, knitting yarns, and even artist paints and prints

Natural dye colour gardens can be of any size and we encourage everyone to get growing, from absolute beginners to those with lots of growing experience. If you have a window ledge, pot, garden, allotment, school garden, community space… now is the time to get started. 

Check out the resources at the end of this page to help you get going and once you have a garden add it to the network

We regularly run workshops, talks and community events. Find out more on the WOVEN Whats On

2023 projects

Growing Colour Together was one of the core projects for the 2023 festival.

Communities and artists worked together in Dewsbury, Kirkburton, and Birkby and Fartown to create showcase events that spread the word about dye gardens, natural dyes, and sustainability within the textile industry.


Throughout this project artists and communities alike have developed legacy through a shared community and artist network: Growing Colour Together Network allowing a space to showcase those involved with the project, grow local artist talent and continue to develop the project.

Artists have benefited greatly from being part of a network and community, finding common ground, sharing experiences and developing networks and connections together: 

“This is the most supportive project I have ever been on” GCT Artist

“It has been so exciting, I feel so welcomed in a supportive family feeling environment. First residency, cogs are turning and you have set the bar high” GCT Artist

“Overwhelmed with Joy” GCT Artist

This project has also reached beyond Kirklees, inspiring communities and artists across the world in New York, Mexico and Canada and Jamaica. We have inspired other groups across the UK and worked with researchers from University of Huddersfield, University of Manchester and Leeds University and Society of Dyers and Colourists to develop our understanding of natural dyes used in Industry and the research developed around these. We held a Symposium and exhibition at the end of the festival to unpick some of these debates around natural dyes.

“It’s really fantastic, amazing. I never thought there could be so much of interest in dye plants! The work cards are outstanding, and the site presentation first rate. It’s certainly an inspiration and if we can achieve even a portion of this it will be well worthwhile.” Email from Debdale Garden

Capturing Spring – preparing your fabric

Capturing Spring – gathering and pressing flowers

Capturing Spring – creating your bundle dye

Bundle Dyeing demo

Plant Hammering Demo

Natural Drawing Demo

Talk – Deborah margo

Talk – Mariana Leyva and Janette Terrazas

Talk – cara piazza and Hannah Ross (Hanoux)

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