My little natural dye house in Providence, RI

Updated: Jul 27


Onion skins being prepared to become a green dye extract

Many artists dream of magnificent, shiny, Pinterest-worthy art studios, but we all start... somewhere else. Today I'll tell you a little about a few small rooms that I currently call my creative space.


Since I started natural dyeing all of the handmade clothing and homewares for Charlie Darwin Textiles, I've been primarily living and working in a 1000 sq ft rental apartment in Providence, RI. There are outdated ceilings, bad paint colors (that I didn't pick), and not as much well-lit wall space as I'd like for taking photos. But here I sit, in the vessel that holds up my entire artistic practice-- the space where I inhale energy and exhale ideas.


While it's not the shiny sewing studio or natural dye kitchen that I aspire to one day inhabit, it really truly does what I need it to. With a spare room + my apartment kitchen + an in-unit washing machine, I dye several garments and yards of fabric per week. I bring my sewn garments out from my sewing room to the stove to be boiled & dyed, over to the sink to be rinsed, and then I drip across my living room to the washing machine for a final spin cycle-- I can say the process is clean but not glamorous; it is chaotic but still peaceful.



Onion skins being weighed before boiling

Working in the space that you are given is truly a part of the art form. As I grow my small business and master the trade of natural dyeing, there is something naive and intimate about being in a smaller space, alone with your tools and your messes and your thoughts.



Soon I will be moving somewhere new, but I haven't found the right place just yet. Fingers crossed that it has just a little bit bigger sink, even sunnier windows, and still has that in-unit washer+dryer :)


*July 2022 UPDATE* - I will be moving to Pittsburgh, PA in August and have secured an apartment with a well-lit and fully finished basement for my studio space, private laundry room with industrial sink, and covered back porch for air drying my fabrics! So excited!! Stay tuned for more pics and updates on my Instagram! @Charli.e.Darwin


To learn about how (& why) I use indigo as one of my natural dyes, check out this blog post!



 

Next, read about the surprising history of natural dyes, or take a look at my black tea dye recipe.


THE HISTORY OF NATURAL DYE IS WEIRDER THAN YOU'D THINK -->


HOW TO DYE FABRIC WITH TEA -->


 


Shop some of our most popular naturally dyed pieces:






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Or just reach out and say hello at CharlieDarwinCo@gmail.com