Women's Limited Artist Series: California Clay

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Limited edition artist made. Dyed with California clay by Oakland based artist Rosa Novak.

  • Fabric: 100% organic cotton USA grown

  • Origins: Organic cotton grown in USA, spun + knit in USA, designed + sewn in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dyed with eroded California clay by Rosa Novak in Oakland. Entirely USA domestic supply chain

  • Color: Soft golden yellow, the color of California clay

  • Questions? We would love to help hello@harvestandmill.com

See our article about this collaboration and explore how art, fashion + manufacturing can work together to fight climate change.

The process of dyeing with clay

Rosa Novak is an Oakland artist digging local clays for ceramic and dye applications. She is interested in the intersection of land use histories, soil science, waste-cycling, and place-based making.

These shirts were dyed with naturally eroded iron-rich clay collected from the coast of California.

This particular clay was collected from fallen soil below a bluff on the beach, after a storm this past spring.

Dyeing with clay is a process of steeping in slip - local clay and mineral-rich soil and water - over the course of weeks. The coated fiber is then dried to a sandy crust, and holds it’s shape more like a piece of earth than a piece of fabric.

Once the clay dye is discharged, the color of the dry soil remains as a dye in the fabric. The longevity of this color depends on the soil and amount of wear. To lengthen the dye’s vibrance, hand wash with gentle detergent as infrequently as possible. If worn more heavily, the shirt will not lose its color all at once, but will naturally fade to new shades of golden clay yellow.

Learn more about Rosa Novak and her work here.