Monday, June 18, 2012

Natural Dye Workshop

This weekend I hosted a natural dye demonstration/workshop in the A.I.R. studio here in Paducah.  On Saturday we started out by mordanting our fiber - treating it with Alum or Iron in order to help the fiber take up the dye and make the color more permanent.
Our fiber after they came out of the mordants.
We also cooked our dyes on Saturday, using local Blackberries, Black Tea, Brazilwood and Turmeric.

The dyestuffs
The dye baths
In order to keep the blackberry dye from going grey we didn't simmer our fabric in it, but let it sit overnight. On Sunday we dyed the rest of our fiber.  The participants were able to get a wide range of colors depending on the choice of the Alum or Iron mordant, the amount of time in the dye baths and the fiber they used.  Many people brought natural wool roving but we also had some silk scarves and some recycled material from wool coats.

The range of colors for each dye were:
                                Blackberry: Light purple to lavender to grayish purple
                                Tea: Warm tans to grays
                                Turmeric: Bright yellow to gold to brown
                                Brazilwood: Mauve to magenta to dark purple
Our dyed fabric drying outside
The two tones from the different mordants are easy to see in Tina's samples
Showing off the difference between silk and wool.
Georgia knotted her silk scarves before putting them in the
dye bath in order to get these beautiful textures.


  1. Hi, Jennifer! It was great to have you here! Such a wonderful opportunity for all who participated. I posted about your workshop on my blog and just wanted to make sure you saw it:

    I love all the experimenting that you are doing and it will be very interesting to see where you go with it!