Lucy Beizer, 2019, Botanika Studios, Budapest

For my summer funded experience, I interned at Botanika, a natural dye studio and shop in Budapest, Hungary.  I found this internship by searching for natural dyers on the internet and sending out emails expressing my interest in an internship.  After hearing back from a few, I chose the most promising and exciting option, which was Botanika in Budapest.  During my internship, I was able to learn about and assist with many different aspects of natural dying and running a fibers store and studio.  Much of my time was spent learning about the different plants that create lasting dyes, the effect of certain factors on the dye color, and how different fibers react to the dyes.  I got to experiment with putting a variety of fabrics in a dye pot and seeing how different they turned out. I also learned how to ecoprint, using leaves and flowers to make prints and marks on fabric. 

Ecoprinted Fabrics

Shirt with flowers ready to be ecoprinted

In addition to working with dyes, I assisted in running natural dye workshops at the fibers museum, drafting and using patterns to upcycle clothes to fundraise for a non-profit, help out at the store and markets, go to fabric and dye shops, and even work at a music festival.  Helping out with natural dye workshops helped me to learn how to run a workshop myself, a valuable skill for if I want to teach others how to use this medium in the future. Beyond dying, I also learned about upcycling. My boss and I made a variety of bags out of used pants and shirts to help use spare clothes donated to a refugee center.  Afterwards, I taught a workshop on how to use a sewing machine and recreate the bags. During this process, I learned how to create a pattern from scratch as well as use a serger for the first time, a very important skill as a fiber arts major.

Bag made of used jeans

Bag made of used jeans

One day of my internship, my boss took me with her to the The Művészetek völgye fesztivál in Kapolcs, Hungary.  The Művészetek völgye fesztivál is an annual music and arts festival in the countryside of Hungary and I was lucky enough to get to attend and help with a workshop on painting and embroidering using natural dyes.  The music festival was very fun and in a beautiful setting, and it was exciting to see the many ways people used the dyes to create artwork.

My embroidery

Flowers at the festival

My boss and friend at the festival

Our table

Naturally dyed yarns

Another field trip we took was to Szimpla Kert for a green market, where a large number of sustainable artists were selling their products.  I helped run the table and got to talk to many artists about their work and see the types of things they were making.

Inside Szimpla Kert

Besides running workshops, helping with sales and production and learning how to use the dyes, I also went with my boss to buy materials. Shopping for and working with a variety of fibers and dyes, I was able to get a better understanding of the difference between fabrics and how to identify them.  I also learned how to get the dyes necessary for natural dying and which ones work best when. 

Fibers drying after being dyed buckthorn yellow

Cabinet of different natural dyes

This internship taught me things I never got the chance to try at school, and I am so grateful to have gotten the chance to dive deep into this medium post-grad.  Budapest is an amazing city, and getting to go there and work with my incredible boss was a life changing and incredibly rewarding experience.

Me wearing my outfit dyed with buckthorn

My mom wearing an eco printed outfit I made

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