Keep the experimentation going!

Harvested plant matter and dried to be stored

Harvested plant matter and dried to be stored


We have been busy at Dyescape trying out all the 9 different dye plants that we planted this past summer. Taking care of all the needs of these plant beds has not been an easy task, but it sure has been one of the most rewarding experiences of all. We invested many hours of work and it has payed off! These plants have given us a lovely rainbow of colors to initiate our own Dyescape color palette! Together with researching and experimenting different natural dye recipes, this summer has been a huge milestone in developing our first color samples for upcoming products.

Color samples in different fabric swatches, from top to bottom: Dyers Coreopsis, Yarrow, Indigo

Color samples in different fabric swatches, from top to bottom: Dyers Coreopsis, Yarrow, Indigo

This summer we planted: Indigo, Golden Rod, Marigolds, Black Eyed Susans, Weld, Yarrow, Safflower and Dyers Coreopsis. We are still waiting 2 more years to use our Madder bed which takes around 4 years to harvest! With this array of plants we will be getting a variety of yellows, oranges, reds, greens, blues and purples. 

The slow process of natural dyeing is so rewarding in so many aspects! The fact that we get to "borrow" color from plants as we take good care of them is fascinating! Not any sample is the same, keeping it interesting and unique we hope that our future products will reflect the same about each of the women who make them.


Time to Harvest and Dye!


This was a pretty exciting week at Dyescape! Firstly, The shed was completed by building a shelf and hanging a board for all the necessary tools used for gardening and dyeing. We harvested and dyed with plants that were ready to be collected: Marigold,  Black Eyed Susan,  Dyers Coreopsis and Yarrow blooms. Some were used fresh to dye with this week and others dried for future dye baths. After collecting enough dyestuff material to equal the weight of the fabric to be dyed, we had to mordant the fabric, a first step that helps the dye to set on the fabric and therefore gives stronger color results. There are many different methods to mordant a fabric and it all depends on the type of dyestuff that is being used and desired shades of color. We sampled a new mordant procedure with 9 different fabric swatches with all 4 plants and the results where incredible!

Harvesting Marigold and Black Eyed Susans

Harvesting Marigold and Black Eyed Susans

Yarrow samples

Yarrow samples

Marigold and Dyers Coreopsis samples

Marigold and Dyers Coreopsis samples

Importance of Natural Dyeing

Most people do not realize the negative impact of the textile industry on our planet. It is considered to be the #1 freshwater polluter on earth. It is estimated by The World Bank that 17-20% of the industrial water pollution comes from textile dyeing and finishing treatments used for textile production. During textile dyeing, about 72 toxic chemicals are pumped into the water used. Over 30 of these toxics are poisonous and directly & indirectly damaging to human health. Additionally, less than 5% of our clothes are made in the United States, which does not promote U.S. clothing companies and businesses and does not add to our national economy.

However, dyeScape has been created to change this.

dyeScape has begun to offset the damages of the industrialized textile production and will continue to grow and transform communities in the future. This is being accomplished by transforming neglected vacant lots into flourishing landscapes, creating a sustainable textile system, and implementing a plan that will also address the issue of the exploitation of women.

By practicing natural dyeing, we can eliminate harsh chemicals, such as ammonia, chlorine, and heavy metals, that are pumped into the industrialized dyeing process. This is accomplished by harvesting plants and flowers with natural dyeing tactics.

Through localizing the textile dyeing process to vacant lots in Louisville, we will be able to boost our economy and add life and strengthen underdeveloped communities. dyeScape's plan will increase the availability of local jobs by introducing the field of natural dyeing and design. 

Summer 2015 Update

dyeScape has been busy and growing throughout this summer and we have some big plans for the rest of the season as well.

At our volunteer days and other trips to the Portland garden, we have been able to officially complete the shed, pick mulberries for dye testing, maintain plant beds, harvest flowers for dyeing, and have planted new dye plants that have already begun to grow. Various dye experiments have also been completed, which is giving our team a better idea of which techniques work better than others. Our website has also been revamped with a new design, layout, and updated information. Edging for the dye garden will be arriving this week and we are in the midst of ordering a dyeScape sign that will be displayed at the site.

We are so happy to see our vision coming to life. Every day dyeScape is one step closer to accomplishing the goal of ending the exploitation of women across Louisville. Look out for more information on our next volunteer day and the announcement of our official launch date and party!


A Morning Trip to the Dye Garden

This morning, Maggie Clines took a trip to our dye garden in the Portland area of Louisville. Although it is a gloomy day here in town, the garden is full of life. She discovered hollyhock, yarrow, marigold, and St. John's wort plants in full bloom! Some of the dyeScape team is planning to go to the garden soon to gather plant parts to try more dye experiments in a variety of methods and techniques. We are so amazed at the state our dye garden is in, and look forward to the upcoming projects that will take place!  

Looking Back to Summer 2014

May 2014

The Anchal Project wins the Louisville Metro Government’s “LOTS of Possibilities” award for our newest project, dyeScape. The project was rewarded with funds and 3 parcels of land to begin this plan with the goal of ending the exploitation of women in Louisville.


June 2014

Anchal Project officially signed the Grant Agreement and Deed to dyeScape’s lots (1655 Portland Avenue, 1657 Portland Avenue and 609 North 17th Street) on June 10th. We then made plans for several volunteer days throughout the summer.

On June 21st, the project team (Colleen Clines, Maggie Clines, & Louis Johnson) and several volunteers met on site to begin the site layout and strategize about the placement of the water.

The following weekend, June 28th, the dyeScape team successfully broke ground. The water trench, concrete slab and gravel workspace were all excavated with the assistance of donated machinery and gracious volunteers.

July 2014

The next major workday took place on July 12th. The dyeScape team and experienced volunteers gathered early to build a form for the concrete slab. The day produced amazing progress with the completion of the concrete slab and the implementation of the gravel workspace.

Several days later the water spigot was successfully installed and tested.

With the amazing progress completed throughout the summer of 2014, dyeScape has been able to take tremendous strides to reaching a final product and goal to bring us closer to the official dyeScape launch date!

LOTS of Possibilities

The LOTS of Possibilities Award that dyeScape won in May 2014 is what has help get Anchal’s new project to where it is now. This competition that was hosted by the Louisville Metro Government gave dyeScape the opportunity to jump-start the project through being rewarded with funds and 3 parcels of land.

“Louisville’s urban dyeScape is a network of small-scale gardens that support the cultivation of dye plants for the purpose of natural textile production.  dyeScape provides an income stream for participants, enhances ecological balance, strengthens the local economy, and educates the community about sustainable textile practices.”


Anchal’s Colleen & Maggie Clines; Urban Planner, Louis Johnson; and numerous volunteers have been working hard to develop dyeScape to begin the goal of adding new life and opportunities to depressed neighborhoods throughout Louisville, Ky. On June 28, 2014, the dyeScape team successfully began to break ground at our central garden in the Portland Neighborhood and we held a major workday on July 12, 2014. Throughout the summer of 2014, the dyeScape team worked to develop this space to begin to build up this plan that will eventually become a worldwide sensation.

A little over a year later, dyeScape has made tremendous strides and is close to being ready for the official launch of the plan. Through this award, we have constructed our central garden in the Portland neighborhood. This plot is the foundation of our plan to create a network of dye gardens, with this location acting as the home base for dyeScape and the other gardens that will be located throughout the Louisville community.

Thanks to this award dyeScape has been able come to life!