Natural Dye Workshops


Natural dyes can be used to print, paint and dye cloth and fibers. My workshops offer a range of opportunities to learn about natural dyes, from info/demo-type presentations to group assisted DIY sessions and workshop intensives.  Each dye comes with its own unique signature, each process (print/paint and immersion) with its own set of requirements and auxiliaries, and all are handled accordingly in relevant modules.  In workshops, along with technical practice, and design exploration, best studio practices with each dye group are also addressed.  In the facilitated DIY sessions technical information is very limited but hands-on experience is encouraged.



Natural Dye Series – Session I:  Introduction to Natural Dyes. Part demo, part hands-on, this workshop provides an overview of traditional natural dye substances and processes, as well as an opportunity to work with pre-mordanted swatch sets in live dye pots. We review the many forms of natural dye substances and their auxiliaries, along with various traditional methods for extracting and transferring natural color to cloth and fiber, including thickening dyes for direct application.  While the workshop focuses cloth, demonstration will also include immersion of selected yarn and fiber samples.  Participants will leave with a small sample set and information which will provide a foundation for future natural dye exploration.  This workshop is designed for fiber and textile artists who want to have a direct experience with natural dyes before investing in materials, supplies or more immersive learning, as well as for individuals with a general interest in textile technique. 1-Day workshop

Natural Dye Series – Session II: Indigo Series: Alternate 1: Building an Organic Indigo Vat. This hands-on workshop focuses on indigo vat construction.  In addition to having access to the host’s large vat, Participants will build a smaller fermentation vat.  We will also mix and apply a barrier resist specifically designed for indigo immersion.  Participants will leave with a small sample set.  Instructions and recipes included.  All materials are supplied. 2-Day Workshop 

Alternate 2: “A Tale of Two Vats”. Part demo, part hands-on, this workshop provides an opportunity to build and experience two quite different indigo vats, working with both quick and slow reduction to achieve the chemical conditions needed to dye with indigo pigment.  Participants will observe the building of 2 small indigo vats – one “chemical” and one “organic,” learn about the characteristics of each, and leave with instructions and recipes for both. We also work with with a range of resist techniques on cloth for vat immersion, including a simple paste resist specifically created for indigo. Participants will leave with a sample set and information which will provide a foundation for future indigo exploration.  2-Day Workshop

Natural Dye Series: Session III.  Direct Application With Natural Dyes.  Part demo, part hands-on, this workshop will explore the preparation and use of print pastes made from a selected group of traditional natural dye substances.  Participants will have the opportunity to produce print pastes and use those preparations for printing and stenciling.  After curing and processing, the results will be studied and evaluated.  Participants will work with a range of textile surfaces to provide a rich sample set. The workshop is designed to provide a foundation for future exploration. 2-Day Workshop

Natural Dye Series: Session IV.  Natural Dyes as Lakes and Inks.  Part demo, part hands-on, this workshop will explore the preparation of traditional natural dye substances to create lakes and inks for use as paints on cloth and paper. Many natural dye substances serve as chemical precursors to historically significant colors whose chemical properties were later synthesized into the colors many painters use today. Think: “Carmine Lake,” “Indigo Lake,” and “Alizarin Red”. In addition, some plant materials with high concentrations of tannin, such as Black Walnut hulls, have been used historically as foundations for ink formulas. This workshop offers and overview of the possibilities and techniques for accessing natural dyes for work with brush and pen. 


Natural Dye Mini Sessions:

If you want to find out about natural dyes before investing in the tools and materials, OR you are just curious about the processes but aren’t interested in investing in an intensive, I offer short-duration assisted DIY sessions. These sessions provide access to prepared print and paint pastes and include a brief presentation and demo.  A choice of small undyed items will be supplied. Surface design (if desired) will be achieved using stencils and silk screens.  Participant will leave with a sample ready for processing (curing/rinsing), and a written overview of the process.  Fee covers all materials and supplies.  We won’t be mixing dyes or working with formulas in this class and it does not offer technical support or documentation.  For a more in-depth experience, a workshop is recommended.  3-4 hours


Natural Dye Master Class:  8 Weeks. One 3-hour studio session per week exploring the full range of natural dye techniques available to the small textile/fiber studio, along with exploration of design, mark-making, and creating a finished product or artwork.  The exact nature of this class will be partly determined by the class members.



None at this time but tentatively resuming live classes in early Spring 2021.

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