NATURAL DYE STUDIO
Kassenhoff Growers, founded in 1994 by partners Peggy Kass and Helen Krayenhoff, is an organic nursery producing plant starts for home gardeners and landscapers. We sell most of our plants directly to our customers at Oakland’s Temescal farmers’ market on Sundays in the spring and fall seasons. Our primary mission is to maintain a functional, healthy, local business that engages with and contributes to the diverse communities in Oakland.
Helen, who illustrates as a second job, revived her fibre art practice in the past few years. Over 30 years ago she was an avid natural dyer. Now she enjoys growing the plants that she uses for her natural dyeing projects. It made sense to expand the nursery to include dye plants so we have enough to share with the Bay Area’s natural dye gardeners.
Growing plants is such a miraculous process, and we are committed to making this experience available to the local public. The creation of community around organically growing food, dye plants, and ornamentals is the most satisfying part of the process for us. Our customers come to the markets every week to buy, to give a progress report on their gardens, to get advice, to say hi, and to get a hug. This heartfelt sharing with so many different kinds of people is why we want to continue to grow both the plants and the relationships.
Recently, Helen and Deepa Natarajan co-authored 10 Plants for Color — A Simple Guide to Growing and Using Natural Dye Plants that Helen also illustrated. It is available on her website PlantsColorPlace.com and at the farmers’ market.
Photo Credit (top): Andrew Ellis