North Texas Daily

UNT opens campus dye garden

UNT opens campus dye garden

October 09
07:29 2013

Emily Farr and Sanette Ludick / Contributing Writers

With all the recent improvements on campus, construction is quickly becoming the norm at UNT. However, construction of a greener kind has been in the works on the corner of Avenue D and Highland Street.

UNT will unveil its first community dye garden today at 6 p.m. One of last year’s visiting artists and founder of the Permacouture Institute, Sasha Duerr, is the inspiration behind the dye garden.

Studio art senior Morgan Kuster said plants grown in the garden will be repurposed to make dyes to be used by students in the fibers and weaving program. Though Kuster and faculty in the College of Visual Arts and Design initiated the project, the garden will still be accessible to other UNT departments and students.

“The opening will be followed by a reception and artist talk with Greenmeme Design Group, who will be installing a site specific work in the garden funded by a private donor,” senior fibers lecturer Lesli Robertson said.

Greenmeme Design Group is the vision of artists Freya Bardell and Brian Howe. Together, they have been creating site-specific public artwork on a national and international scale since 2005.

Make Art with Purpose founder Janeil Engelstad is partnering with UNT and Greenmeme Design Group to produce a seating and canopy area for the dye garden out of repurposed materials. The project, titled “Knotty Nest,” is a part of MAP 2013: Creative Projects that restore and preserve the environment, promote social justice and advance human knowledge and well-being.

“Adding green space to our planet uplifts the spirit of all community members,” said Engelstad, who visited the campus as a guest lecturer. “It is a terrific teaching opportunity — creating knowledge and understanding about how all that we need for dyes can be found in Mother Nature.”

Engelstad said the garden is important for the health of the planet and humanity because chemical dyes have toxic by-products and pollute the air and water.

The dye garden is funded through the We Mean Green Fund, a $5 service fee that every student pays each fall and spring semester to fund sustainability projects for CVAD and around campus.

“I thought that the project was a great idea,” said Lauren Helixon, assistant director for UNT Sustainability. “Almost like an example project of what the Green Fund is here to do.”

Helixon said she thinks projects through the We Mean Green Fund are a great opportunity for students to volunteer and leave a lasting imprint on the UNT campus.

Kuster said making materials easily accessible for students will improve their work.

“The dye garden is important because I’m interested in sustainability and natural processes in my work,” Kuster said. “Having access to these materials on campus makes what I’m studying a lot more accessible.”

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