ABOUT THE URBAN DYER’S ALMANAC
The Urban Dyers Almanac is a student research project that documents the natural dye explorations that are underway in the IDP:Collab/Natural Dyeing course in PSD/SDS. The almanac is a database for the vegetable and plant dyes from producers who sell at the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC. The almanac also includes a list of the natural fibers from NYS wool and alpaca farms. Functioning as a both a calendar, and recipe book, the almanac allows for an enhanced understanding of the origin, regional ecology, and growing season of the plants and vegetables that are being used as natural dyes. Through the framework of local food and fiber farming, The Urban Dyers Almanac draws a link between the city and the larger State of NY, and highlights the vital role that greenmarkets have in building and sustaining local economies. The almanac also celebrates the local marketplace as a common space for sharing resources and ideas; an inherent characteristic of community based systems of production and commerce.
Natural dyes have been used for thousands of years to produce color, and it is only in the past 100 years that synthetic dyes were invented. Natural dyes are a safer and less costly alternative, and once the fiber is prepared to accept the dye, there are a myriad of colors that can be achieved. Common vegetables, plants, barks, berries, insects, and lichens can be used as natural dye sources. The main source for our dyestuff is the Union Square Green Market where we find plants and vegetables that are in season and are of local origin. Visit the materials page to browse for dye recipes by plant.