Galleries Visual Arts

Penland Gallery Presents Further Evidence: The Art of Natural Dyes

Penland Gallery Presents Further Evidence: The Art of Natural Dyes

Garden Series: Weld. Catharine Ellis, artist. Photo by Tim Barnwell

Penland Gallery & Visitors Center hosts Further Evidence: The Art of Natural Dyes, an exhibition featuring the work of 16 international artists, from Tuesday, May 28, through July 14. The exhibit, co-curated by textile artist and dyer Catharine Ellis, recognizes the resurgence of the use of natural dyes in both studio practice and commercial dying. Works shown include ink and pigment on paper, and woven and printed textiles.

“The artists and works chosen for this exhibition illustrate a broad range of technical and aesthetic approaches in contemporary craft-based media,” says Penland Gallery & Visitors Center director Kathryn Gremley. “The common thread is the use of natural dye, but from there the road diverges wildly.”

According to Ellis, who co-authored the 2019 book The Art and Science of Natural Dyes: Principles, Experiments, and Results along with Danish textile engineer and chemist Joy Boutrup, natural dyes have regained popularity due to concerns regarding environmental issues and personal safety, as well as a better understanding of the scientific principles and methods related to their production and use. Works by Ellis and Boutrup are included in the exhibit along with those by other artists from the US, Venezuela, Australia and Canada. A reception takes place Saturday, June 15, from 4:30–6:30 p.m.

“With natural dyes, the color palette is always harmonious and balanced,” says Gremley. “Their use is sometimes an overt part of the work, fully integrated into the concept or subject matter, but in some cases it has more to do with a personal choice to steer away from chemicals in the artist’s studio practice.”

Penland Gallery & Visitors Center is located at 3135 Conley Ridge Road, Penland. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 12–5 p.m. Learn more at

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