Colours from our garden.

October 19 ,2017 BY Nova Nelson

Colours from the garden. 

One of the first things I did when I first moved to Singapore was sign up for woodworking class with the Sustainable Living Lab. I loved it and would travel to then Bottle Tree Park, Sembawang for classes until I broke one of my fingers and had to take a break. Through my woodworking class I met Veera Swaminathan who ran Sustainable Living Labs, he encouraged me to participate in the Maker Fair in 2014. So together with a couple of enthusiastic volunteers, I ran a booth and we showed parents and kids how to make an upside down self-watering planters.  

Think about textiles more.

Why is all this relevant? Well, this is where I met Isabelle Desjeux there and Agatha - Agy Textile Artist. What a privilege to see them in action. I met many inspiring makers and tinkers at this Maker Faire. Isabelle ran her pinhole camera booth and Agy was mending clothes.... Mending clothes!

On a daily basis, I put a lot of thought into food waste but it was then that I started thinking more about textiles. Think about it, textiles are such a huge part of our lives. As important as clothes I dare say. My version of being mindful about the clothes I wear is I avoid shopping for clothes much. I keep a very small collection of clothes but that also means I do not express myself through clothes entirely well. I'm a rather dull dresser. So dull my toddler knows the exact T-shirts and pants I will wear to work.  

Agy showed me a more creative way, one that involves upcycling. As a passionate environmental scientist and textile artist, she leads the way in Singapore teaching the public how to have a more meaningful and mindful relationship with clothes. Check out her wonderful work here. This year, she started embarking on experiments with natural dyes. And so since Cultivate Central has a Dye Patch at The Good Garden we're having her over at for a fun parent and child workshop on the 28th of October. Every children's food garden should have a Dye Patch, for the following reasons:

Every children's food garden should have a Dye Patch, here's why...

1. To reconnect us to the idea of colours from nature. 

2. To discover that we can paint and create art with natural colours. 

3. Think about what goes into our clothes and what goes into creating natural dyes for textiles.  Understanding our relationship with textiles better. 

4. Going back to basics - learning to observe, identify and immerse ourselves in creating with nature.

Yes, some may argue that natural dyes aren't the best solution as it costs more and colours may not last. But as Agy says in this video...She finds this interesting. When the dye wears off then it is time to dye your clothes again. 


Others may argue textiles with natural dyes are a luxury. And we've seen this argument before with solar panels. It started out extremely expensive and exclusive and it is a fairly accessible solution today.  The point is the more we work with nature the more we will look for creative ideas and solutions to meet nature halfway or live a life with less negative impact on the Earth. 

So, if you are still looking for something to do with your child on 28th Oct come join us or come with some friends to play with some colours from our garden. Booking details here at The Artground website. Come join us at our garden. 

Nova Nelson

Nova Nelson started Cultivate Central in 2013 after transitioning from a career in Corporate Communications, content creation and community engagement. As a Permaculture Designer she believes a city filled with vibrant, ecological and compact urban gardens will create socially and environmentally connected communities. As a mother she is passionate about exploring Permaculture with children and their communities. She serves clients and communities in Malaysia, where she was born and Singapore where she currently resides.

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