BLT announces runway fall-fashion show using natural dyes

From left to right are Paul Roselli, president of the Burrillville Land Trust; BLT board members Cynthia Crook-Pic, Edmund Croteau and Deborah Yablonski; natural dye specialist Sasha Azbel; and BLT Secretary Doris Alberg.

BURRILLVILLE – The Burrillville Land Trust announced this week a fall workshop on making natural dyes for a fashion show this fall.

The workshop titled “Runway in the Woods – Color, Place, Belonging,” combines foraging with cultural history of the land, along with making clothing or accessories.

“We want as many ways as possible for people to connect with their environment. Fashion, along with a sense of place, is a really good one,” said Paul Roselli, president of the all volunteer, non-profit private land trust.

To have natural dyes, one must have natural plants to work with. And so, on Saturday, April 24, members of the board of directors of the land trust, along with workshop coordinator Sasha Azbel, planted over 70 flat top goldenrod in an enclosure on the Edward D. Vock Conservation Area on Jackson Schoolhouse Road in Pascoag. The 86 acre parcel was purchased from the Vock family in October of 2008. The 120-square-foot chicken-wire fenced enclosure contains plants that will be used for the natural dye workshop scheduled for the first week of October 2021.

“If all goes well, with this planting we will have enough yellow to dye a lot of fabric,” said Roselli.

“Finding wildflowers on our properties has always been a struggle,” he said. “When deer get hungry, they will eat almost anything. To date we have almost no wildflowers growing on the Vock property.”

But why grow something and put it in a fenced area that most backyards already grow and most homeowners think of as a weed?

“In this enclosure, the plants are protected from human and animal foot traffic and demonstrates how native wildflowers, no matter where they are grown, need protection, even in a natural setting,” said Roselli.

Azbel, founder, artist, creative director of Sashoonya Textiles Company is leading the fall workshop. Clara Boberg, a Rhode Island School of Design student who is an intern and natural dyes and textiles researcher, will also join the workshop.

“In addition to guided foraging, extraction, and dyeing the workshop participants will also color and craft their own textile outfits,” said Azbel. “The workshop will culminate in a forest runway show – an opportunity to celebrate and exhibit the student’s work, the color palette of the forest and discuss the opportunities that working with nature can create for a local textile production. We will use goldenrod, indigo, tree bark and other plants that we can find.”

Promotion for the event take place at the Burrillville Farmers’ Market scheduled to open on Saturday, June 5 in the pavilion at the Stillwater Mill Center in Harrisville.

“We are still looking for help – a seamstress and of course. workshop participants are first on the list,” said Roselli. “The workshop is open to anyone.”

For more information contact the Burrillville Land Trust at PO Box 506, Harrisville, Rhode Island 02830; visit; call (401) 447-1560 or e-mail

Started in the year 2000, the Burrillville Land Trust is an all volunteer 501 (c)3 public-charity, private land trust in the town of Burrillville. The mission of the land trust is to preserve and protect the rural character of the town of Burrillville through acquisition, education and advocacy.

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