Tuesday, December 1

Textiles from Trees: Ugandan Bark Cloth


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Textiles from Trees: Ugandan Bark Cloth

A Brown Bag Lecture by Lesli Robertson

For centuries and into today, bark from a specific tree is stripped, beaten, and used by the people of Uganda. The tree, with its bark removed, does not die, but grows its outer covering back to be used again and again, year after year.

Lubugo, or Ugandan barkcloth, has a diverse history from clothing kings to finding its way onto fashion runways in Europe. Lesli Robertson has been traveling to Uganda since 2005, where she first saw this rust colored cloth folded up in a roadside stall. Since, she has worked with artists, researchers, and community leaders in Uganda to assist in promoting and preserving this cloth.

In this lecture, Lesli will give a behind the scenes glimpse into her work and what she has learned from array of stakeholders who love this material, from fashion designers to 9th generation bark cloth makers. Look for her upcoming Maker to Maker: Ugandan Barkcloth hands-on virtual workshop at BRIT in January. Also, visit her studio, www.mekekadesigns.com, to learn more about her current work.

A mutuba tree with new, red roots emerging
A mutuba tree with new roots emerging
Paul and Vincent removing the bark from a mutuba tree
Paul and Vincent removing the bark from a mutuba tree


Lesli Robertson is an interdisciplinary textile consultant and project developer who partners with local and international organizations to develop impactful engagement through interactive programs. She has recently worked on projects supported by USAID, the Smithsonian Institution, and Fulbright Specialist program, taking her to countries as diverse as Kuwait, Armenia, Uganda, and Ghana. She launched Mekeka Designs in 2018, creating bespoke textile collections with artisans in Uganda. As a former faculty at the University of North Texas, she spent more than a decade teaching textile and visual arts approaches while developing national and international community programs and opportunities.

Thursday, December 3

Botany Spotlight: The Field Photographs of Alain H. Liogier

Virtual Class (Zoom)

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Brandy Watts will discuss her book The Field Photographs of Alain H. Liogier: Plants of Hispaniola, Dominican Republic, 1968-1969. This volume presents a selection of 116 Kodachrome photographs taken by renowned botanist and former BRIT Research Associate Alain H. Liogier while he conducted research in the Caribbean region over a 15 month period in the late 60’s. Focus will also be given to discussing the value of field photographs in botany research.

Instructor: Brandy Watts, BRIT Librarian

Saturday, December 3, 2020 (12 – 1 pm)

Registration Deadline: December 1    

$12/$10 member

Location: Zoom online class; you will receive an email the day prior to class with the Zoom class code and password. 

Saturday, December 5

Winter Botanicals Watercolor Workshop

Virtual Class (Zoom)

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This two-day virtual workshop focuses on the richness of winter botanicals to celebrate the season. Students will complete 1-2 projects (time allowing) inspired by the plants that thrive in the wintertime landscape, using a limited palette. Created for those with some experience in watercolor, this workshop includes a brief review of materials and basic techniques in watercolor.  Students will engage in an ongoing discussion of the unique qualities of this luminous, serendipitous medium. Students will provide their own materials and have their palette set up prior to the workshop. A materials list will be emailed upon registration.

Instructor: Brenda Ciardiello is a Mexican-American artist who paints contemporary landscapes, botanicals, and abstract art that deal with themes of personal connection to nature around the world, as inspired by her travels.  Almost all of her work focuses on using the unpredictable nature of water to depict the unique interplay of color, light and texture in otherwise fleeting elements: water, clouds, and flora. Brenda is heavily influenced by her bicultural and international experience of the world. Born in Mexico City but raised in Texas, she has also lived / studied in Mexico, Italy, the U.K., New York City, New England, the Rocky Mountains and the Middle East. As part of her process she travels whenever possible to capture original source imagery for her work.

Saturday, December 5 & Sunday, December 6 (10 am – 12 pm)

Registration Deadline: December 3

$75/$65 member

Location: This is an online class; you will receive an email the day prior to class with the Zoom class code and password. 

Materials: A full list of necessary materials will be emailed upon registration; the basic materials include:

  • 1 pad or block of 9 x 12 140 lb cold-pressed watercolor paper (Arches)
  • 3-4 round watercolor paintbrushes (suggested sizes: 4, 6, 10 and 1” wash brush)
  • paints in a palette (Winsor Newton or Daniel Smith primary colors in cool / warm options, at least
  • pencil & kneaded eraser
  • painter’s Tape (if using loose paper) & particle board to mount paper on
  • 2 clear water containers & paper towels

Mindfulness Meditation

Virtual Class (Zoom)

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Meeting the first Saturday of most months, our Mindfulness Meditation classes invite you to slow down, release the stresses of everyday life, and tune in to the serenity of the natural world. Learn mindfulness practices and techniques from meditation instructor Lisa November, M.A. Ed. Lisa leads her students in unique, hour-long mindfulness meditations, always attuned to the surrounding natural world. When onsite, classes often take place outdoors, weather permitting. During times of social distancing classes take place virtually. 

Instructor: Lisa November is a meditation teacher based in Fort Worth. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history and communication from the University of Northern Iowa in 1982 and her Master of Arts in Special Education-Moderate Needs from the University of Northern Colorado in 1992. She is a life-long teacher and learner and has been practicing mindfulness based meditation since 1996. Most recently, she has received the 14 Mindfulness Trainings in the Order of Interbeing, Tiep Hien, Ordained Students of Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh in August of 2019. She is also a student of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a proven heath and wellness program from the Oasis Center at the University of Massachusetts.

Saturday, December 5, 2020 (2 pm – 3 pm)

Registration Deadline: December 3        

$10/$8 member

Location: This class will take place online; you will receive an email the day prior to class with the Zoom class code and password. 

Saturday, January 9

Gut Health and Fermentation Workshop, Part 1

Virtual Class (Zoom)

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Join Culinary Dietitian Dixya Bhattarai, MS, RD, LD for this virtual & interactive workshop focused on gut health and how it impacts overall health and well-being. The class will focus on improving gut microflora using an ancient preservation technique, fermentation. Dixya will share how to incorporate various probiotic and prebiotic-rich food into your diet. This class is a mix of brief lecture and hands-on activity where each participant will learn how to make both kimchi and lacto-fermented hummus. 

Instructor: Dixya Bhattarai, MS, RD, LD is a Fort Worth-based Registered Dietitian & Food and Nutrition Expert. She graduated with a major in dietetics and a minor in Biology from Idaho State University in 2010 before she received a Master of Science in Nutrition in 2016 from Texas Woman’s University. Dixya didn't grow up cooking, but being far from home she craved Nepalese dumplings and her mom's cauliflower curry, which forced her to learn and recreate them in her American kitchen. When she's not working at the hospital, she's probably at a dumpling pop-up, teaching cooking classes, or developing recipes for her website Food, Pleasure, and Health

Saturday, January 9 (1 – 3 pm)

Registration Deadline: January 7

$28/$25 member 

Location: This is an online class; you will receive an email the day prior to class with the Zoom class code and password. 

Materials: Participants will receive a workshop packet, including recipes and a grocery shopping list for the class, upon registration. Groceries will average $15 - $20 and many ingredients will last for multiple batches.