Naturally Dyed Textiles by Kayla Powers

Naturally Dyed Textiles by Kayla Powers

As a part of Stetson's Artists and Lecturers Series, the Gillespie Museum and Department of Creative Arts co-hosted Kayla Powers, a weaver and natural dyer, for the opening of her February/March 2021 Stetson exhibit Naturally Dyed Textiles.  Powers, whose Salt Textile Studios are in Detroit, Michigan, coaxes color from both native and invasive plants, from roots, bark, leaves and flowers.  As a place-based artist, she finds the potential for beauty in unlikely places, including winter landscapes.  She is inspired, she explains, “by the limitations of a seasonal palette and the utilitarian nature of woven cloth.”

Artist Kayla Powers Kayla Powers' Salt Textile Studios Artist Kayla Powers and her Salt Textil Studios, Detroit, Michigan

Artist Kayla Powers and her Salt Textile Studios, Detroit, Michigan

Powers has a Bachelor of Arts in art history, criticism, and conservation from Western Michigan University.  She started her Salt Textile Studios business more than three years ago, focusing her work on local natural color that is derived from plants foraged and cultivated in the city.  She brings an urban sensibility to the preservation of the traditional crafts of weaving and dyeing.

During her visit to campus, Powers worked with environmental art students on the grounds of the Gillespie Museum exploring local natural dye plants from the Volusia Sandhill Ecosystem and demonstrating techniques for extracting color and dyeing textiles.  Her work was on display in the Environmental Gallery of the Rinker Environmental Learning Center (RELC), adjacent to the Gillespie, from February 1-March 26.

Natural dye samples organized on the floor Natural dyes samples in a pan Textile samples with the natural dyes 

Natural dye processing and samples

While at Stetson, in a run-up to her exhibit opening, Powers hosted a live-streamed virtual Artist Talk, and a live-streamed demonstration of the natural dye process with assistance from students in the Environmental and Land Art course taught by Stetson professor Katie Baczeski.  These online events were recorded:  Watch Powers' virtual Artist Talk and Natural Dye Demonstration from her Stetson visit!

Be sure to also check out Kayla Powers's website to see more of her amazing work, like the outdoor installation Local Color (pictured at the top of the page), a year-long study of natural dye plants found around Detroit, and the culmination of time spent studying both plants and textiles, and dyeing more than 50 skeins of wool to weave a series of tapestries.  And download Kayla's Artist Page to learn more about her background and she Naturally Dyed Textiles exhibit at Stetson.

A white cloth with multiple prints of plants using natural dye A quilted piece with a patchwork design comprising multiple color blocks A stack of fabric squares in a variety of tones An organized display of yarn samples

Examples of Kayla Powers's naturally dyed textile works