Mother Earth Chemistry

So, I don’t usually blog about my day job – I’m a Senior Lecturer (just got promoted this week!) in the Biology department at the University of Redlands. Anyway, in May we teach one intensive course, which I’ve just finished! So as soon as Graduation is over, I’m free for SUMMER VACATION!!!! WooHoo!

The course I’ve just finished is called “Mother Earth Chemistry: The Science of Self Reliance”, which I describe in m syllabus thusly:

In the last 100-200 years, we have become systematically more detached from where our food/clothing/shelter comes from and how it is prepared. In this class, we will attempt to rectify this by studying the chemical/biochemical processes behind many simple processes that used to be performed at home, as part of the everyday work of feeding and clothing a family. These include activities such as the making of soap, beer, cheese, yogurt, tofu and dyeing.

This class touches 2 of the things I care deeply about – feeding our family with food made from the raw ingredients as much as possible, and creating beautify things with fabric. This years class was really detail oriented, so when it came time for tie dye day (after a lab that studied the effect of pH on how Procion MX dyes cotton), they wanted to get some pretty specific things, so we had a blast using all my different swatch books to created just the right colors. Here are some of the results, there’s a bunch more on my Flicker site. Yes, we had a great time…and yes they learned a lot too!Mother Earth 09 017Mother Earth 09 023Mother Earth 09 026Mother Earth 09 028Mother Earth 09 032Mother Earth 09 034Mother Earth 09 037Mother Earth 09 046Mother Earth 09 064Mother Earth 09 072


Have I mentioned…SUMMER VACATION!!!!!!!!!!!

0 Responses

  1. Wow Candy they were just fantastic. I loved the hearts on the bottom of her dress and I really liked the quiet blues and grey t-shirt.

    I hope they really appreciated your hard work and had fun. Now they are prepared for the first stages of self sufficiency! They can wash their clothing, dye it the colours they like and while they are waiting for it to dry they can eat tofu and drink beer… an ideal world!

  2. I wish I could take your class. It looks like lots of fun, plus lots of learning.

  3. Thank you for sharing that. Isn’t it great to introduce young people to our love of dyeing – as well as putting into context for them – in their everyday lives.