Teaching Artist Alex Ever
This summer, Lane Arts Council, in partnership with Willamette Riverkeeper, Willamette Resources and Education Network (WREN), and multiple local partners, brought teaching artist Alex Ever to day camps and summer school classrooms throughout Eugene, Springfield, and Fern Ridge to teach students about clean water, environmental advocacy, and natural dyes. Their work has culminated in a series of student-driven public art installations that will be displayed across the community during the Willamette River Festival, running August 21st-28th.
Alex’s work, with support from WREN educator Ellen Thompson, engaged students in local environmental education through watershed and water pollution education and the tangible process of creating and using natural dyes. Dye making is an intersection of actionable science and process-based art that encourages experimentation and invites students to take creative risks. Together, students created floating platforms, vibrant banners, and large-scale cross-stitch artworks ready for public showcase. While the methods and mediums varied from camp to camp, the objective remained the same; to inspire and empower local youth to learn about and love their environment through the process of explorative and collaborative art-making.
Dye-stuff used in these pieces includes a wide range of natural materials including:
Rose petal, turmeric, black-eyed Susan, indigo, marigold, chicory, oak gall, onion skin, lavender, hanging moss, henna, pomegranate skin, spinach, Queen Anne’s lace (wild carrot), hibiscus, coffee, black tea, green tea, blueberry, avocado, wild fennel, dandelion, and Oregon grape.