A Dyeing Garden in Holland

We spent a full day at Floriade, a once-in-a-decade garden festival.

Last year Bill and I joined Arena Travel to take a group of stitchers to Holland for a week on a cruise on the inland waterways and to visit some of the beautiful villages by the canals.

In addition to a few half-day trips to places of interest (more this in another Jotting), we spent a full day at Floriade, a once-in-a-decade garden festival. This was unlike any garden event that we had been to the UK.  The emphasis was on sustainability and upcycling rather than growing the best flowers or vegetables. It was an enormous newly built site in Almere, which until 10 years ago, did not exist. This was all reclaimed land, and it was difficult to take it all in. 

I could write a book about this event, but for now I will just mention the Dyeing Garden, a pavilion with an extraordinary wall of glass jars, all filled with natural dyes. I will leave the story of this exhibit to the team that designed it:

“In Colours of the Sun we showcase how the sun transforms the hand-knitted white-woollen sheep in 750 preserving jars. During the Floriade you can see an explosion of seasonal colours in time. It’s as though mother nature dyed the wool herself. Many of the plants we used in the dyeing process do not bloom until later this season. So, for now we used plenty of last year’s harvest in the jars (nothing goes to waste!). 

“The outside of the back wall is covered with disregarded textiles. Where The Colours of the Sun and First Skin show how the interplay between the sun, nature and textiles results in something special, Second Skin shows the result of overproduction and fast fashion in the textile industry which frustrates the natural cycle and results in a waste of raw materials and energy.”

I sat inside this teardrop-shaped room looking at the colours in the jars and was simply spell bound. Many volunteers had worked tirelessly during the autumn and winter knitting the little woolly sheep used in the Kilner jars – it was such a striking exhibit.

The skin of the building showing the waste from fast fashion.

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