“Farm to table” has reshaped how we eat, but now there’s a similar movement for the world of textiles and clothing: “soil to skin.” One artisan leading the charge is Matt Katsaros of Flint Outdoors, whose work with natural dyes we’ve been following for some time. At his studio in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset, Katsaros brews dyes from food scraps and found leaves and nuts foraged from the California landscape. The result? Moody, richly-dyed totes and subtle canvas aprons.
Contact Flint Outdoors for purchase information, or look for Katsaros’s work via Straw & Gold. Or, if you’re in California, head to General Store in San Francisco, which frequently stocks his designs.
Photography courtesy of Matt Katsaros, except where noted.
Above: Katsaros is always searching for new dyes and pigments within the California landscape. “In the spirit of keeping the process loose and easy, I just grab what is around me and experiment—blackberry leaves, loquat, redwood bark, fennel. Oak galls I keep well stocked in my studio,” he adds, and even pulls over on the side of the road to collect them.
Above: Katsaros’s olive green rolltop knapsack is ideal for camping or foraging, and is currently available for $325 via Flint Outdoors.
Above: “With natural dyeing, it’s super easy to nerd out, measuring dyestuffs to real specific amounts, mixing mordants in the exact proportions,” Katsaros says. “Soon enough your studio can start looking like a chemistry lab.” Instead, he advocates using a “looser” approach—as well as local, sustainable fabrics from projects like Fibershed, with whom he has a forthcoming collaboration.
Above: Naturally-dyed canvas aprons with brass grommet details and leather ties are available for $95 at Flint Outdoors. A similar work apron (shown) is available for $85 via Straw & Gold. Photograph courtesy of Straw & Gold.
Above: The work apron features three low, oversize pockets for easy access to tools. Photograph courtesy of Straw & Gold.
Above: Katsaros hand-dyes canvas with natural pigments before coating it with beeswax from local bees and fashioning it into sturdy totes. Photograph by Bryson Gill, courtesy of Matt Katsaros.
Above: A canvas and leather tool bag features hand-stitched leather handles—and would make an ideal overnight bag.
Above: “Quilts are something I am very keen on doing a lot more of,” says Katsaros, whose work is currently on display at Tartine in San Francisco. This patchwork quilt in gradients of blue shows the one-of-a-kind patterning that comes from Katsaros’s not-too-controlled approach.
Naturally-dyed linens are the new neutral. For more, see our posts: