Meet Cara Marie Piazza
Written by: Lydia Varney
Cara Marie Piazza is a Natural Dyer and Textile Designer based in New York, who uses a range of foraged ingredients, plants, botanicals and even food waste to transform natural cloths into the most beautiful rich colours. Every step of Cara’s work is considered and each project is unique, forever evolving and exploring new ingredients and techniques. Cara offers workshops on natural dyeing, merging healing and the love of colour and art. We talk to Cara about her journey into her unique craft, ‘Urban’ foraging and her personal inspirations.
What first inspired your interest in Natural Dyeing?
Natural dyes found me. I first found the medium in college at the Chelsea College of Art and Design. I took a workshop and was mystified at the potential of colours from plants. Through more synchronistic events, I began to see signs of them everywhere and never looked back.
Living in New York, do you travel a lot to go foraging? Or where do you find the things you use?
I joke that I am an 'urban' forager. My practice is a hybrid of industry and alchemy so I use a mix of natural dye extracts sourced from ecological providers. I also partner with compost companies like Garbage Goddess, who break down floral industry events, and I use food waste from NYC restaurants. Foraging for goods at the scale that I dye isn't actually ecologically sound, we wouldn't be able to harvest enough dye from the wild to dye our orders so working with renewable resources and waste from events and industry is a more sustainable solution.
What about living in Brooklyn inspires your work? Are there local originations you love and support?
The people! We love our friends at Fox Fodder Farm the flower shop, Spoonbill & Sugar town & McNally Jackson for books, lighthouse Bk for our food waste deliveries . So many to mention!
What are some of your favourite collaborations you have worked on with other designers?
Working with Mara Hoffman and Bsides has been a dream. Honestly I am blessed that all of the clients I work with are wonderful.
How do you unwind when not making and creating…
I love cooking and writing, my favourite way to unwind is curling up with my book and getting cozy in bed. I also love going to the NYC bathhouses.