Weaving Threads: Natural Dyes at the Intersection of Art & Science
In the fall of 2022, I was a recipient of the Pratt Institute STEAMplant grant, receiving $5,000 form the Sirovich Family Student Scholarship fund. This highly competitive schoolwide grant funds programs that "encourages the mending of the counterproductive split between STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) and Art/Design" (see website here).
For this project, I designed a five-lesson unit on natural dyes. Fourth grade children engaged in artistic use of sustainable materials rooted in studies of ecology, botany, and chemistry. Long-term goals of the project aim to build a strong foundation for ecological thinking as children learn the benefits of low impact materials for the arts. I collaborated on this project with team members Gina Gregorio (Adjunct Associate Professor, Fashion Design & Faculty lead at Textile Dye Garden), Christopher Jensen (Professor, Math and Science), Cindie Kehlet (Professor and Acting Chair, Math and Science), Isa Rodrigues (Visiting Professor, Fashion) and Heather Lewis (Professor, Art and Design Education) to create a curriculum that authentically intertwined chemistry, biology, botany, environmental sustainability, and textiles. The goal was to highlight the connections between these subject areas and integrate all aspects of learning.
Below is a summary of each of the five lessons the team and I taught at an elementary school as well as posters that I created as educational materials to go along with each lesson.