In her work with mushrooms, Julie Beeler often cites this quote by the biologist and author Merlin Sheldrake: “Today, more than 90% of all plant species depend on mycorrhizal fungi. They are the rule, not the exception." Julie is the founder of the Mushroom Color Atlas, an online resource and reference for everyone curious about dyeing with mushrooms. The artist's work appears in Wild Pigment Project, a group exhibition that's on view at form & concept through early December.
The international show (and the project that inspired it) promotes ecological balance and regenerative economies through a passion for wild pigments, their places of origin, and their cultural histories. Read an interview between Wild Pigment Project curator Tilke Elkins and Beeler here, and check out more words from the artist below.
Julie Beeler is an alchemist. Her work is bound up in the landscape; every thread is infused with botanical energy, as she gently simmers Mother Nature to unlock her colors.
She experiments with the unpredictability of plants by growing and harvesting, observing and foraging, and tethering herself to nature’s seasons. Blooming and dyeing takes time. She smells, cooks, immerses and bundles up plants, blooms, leaves, seeds, roots, berries, and bark. Julie transforms the natural world and it transforms her. The pinkish roots of madder, lush green leaves of indigo and tall ﬂowering weld each leave their trace of color on her hands to carry with her.
Her textiles are imbued with these earthly colors and botanical prints, layer by layer, color upon color. Drawing on cultural traditions and ancient natural dye histories each textile object is cut, sewn, stitched and constructed to reveal patterns, textures and color that are a record of a place and time, reﬂecting our relationship to the natural world.
She spends her time tending to her ﬂower farm, working in her art studio, foraging in the forest and leading workshops.
Julie Beeler is a designer, artist and educator living at the base of a volcano in Trout Lake, WA. Growing up with a deep love and curiosity for the natural world, she conceived and launched Bloom & Dye along with the Mushroom Color Atlas to grow her work and passion to beneﬁt what she values most: curiosity, education, creativity, collaboration, community, and the environment. For Julie, educating others on how plants, fungi and their colors reﬂect the beauty of nature is something she is moved to share as a way to inspire care, stewardship and impact.
Her textile work is bound up in the landscape; every thread is infused with earthly energy as she gently simmers Mother Nature to unlock her colors. Drawing on cultural traditions and ancient natural dye histories each textile object is a record of a place and time, reﬂecting our relationship to the natural world. For seven years she was on the faculty of Paciﬁc Northwest College of Art and Oregon College of Art & Craft in Portland. Previously she co-founded and led Second Story, an interactive design studio in Portland where her work focused on interpretive, editorial, and educational content. When she is not out foraging you can ﬁnd her tending to her ﬂower farm, working in her art studio, or leading workshops.