When West Elm asked us to feature their new West Elm Market, with its focus on functional design and local production, we saw it as an opportunity to throw a dinner party to celebrate the creative people we've come to know here in the Bay Area.
As we began planning our seasonal celebratory dinner, we quickly nixed the idea of a mailed invitation (too time-consuming); instead we created a handmade Evite. Our mission was to design a one-off card we could photograph and use as our online invitation; to that end, we asked Deepa Natarajan, a gardener who specializes in creating natural dyes from plants, to help us. Armed with greenery, we set up a workshop in our friend Louesa Roebuck's tiny Hayes Valley flower shop, called Louesa, and spent an afternoon dipping and dyeing, using potions made from olives, rosemary, and ornamental plums.
N.B. Stay tuned, we'll be posting photos of the dinner and guests next week.
Photography by Mimi Giboin for Remodelista except where noted.
Above: We used watercolor paper stock for the invitation, which we dip-dyed in the green olive mix; the invite is penned with a charcoal stick.
Above: Natarajan brought a basket of rosemary, olive leaves, and ornamental plum leaves.
Above: Natarajan boils the leaves in water to create the color. The rosemary dye was created in an hour on a portable camping stove. The ornamental plum took only 20 minutes, while the olive dye needed several hours to steep.
Above: Dying card stock in glass vases. The thicker and more textured the card stock, the better it absorbs the dye.
Above: Olive leaves, post dye making.
Above: The ornamental plum creates a purply gray shade.
Above: We dyed white place cards in the ornamental plum mix and used Tree Stamps from Oregon-based architect Brendon Farrell to decorate the cards; we used a charcoal stick to write the guest names. Photograph by Aya Brackett for Remodelista.
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