In this intensive course we’ll explore the practical modern use of natural dyes. We’ll examine their role in cultures, and the way this craft connects its practitioners with place.
We’ll spend some time with the conceptual ideas around the role these practices play in history, modern society, and cultural traditions including interrelated concepts within agriculture, wildcrafting, ethnobotany, and chemistry. Predominantly, though, the course will be about hands-on practice of techniques. The first week will focus on dyeing protein fibers (fibers that come from animal sources like wool, silk and mohair). The second week will focus on dyeing cellulosic fibers (plant derived fibers).
Within each type of dyeing there are a variety of modern and traditional techniques to explore. We will discuss the effects of and utilize different mordants and assists. We’ll employ multiple indigo dye vats, from different traditions and discuss and practice cultivation and preparations of plant and insect dyes. Dyeing yarn and fabric, we will use immersion techniques as well as printmaking techniques and resist dyeing methods.