Workshop Highlights – Natural Dye Printing with Thea Haines

Over the next few weeks, studio member Dr. Roohi Qureshi will be blogging and bringing us highlights of workshops and events happening in our active studio this summer.  Her first blog post provides some lovely photos and inside info on our workshop held this past June with Thea Haines:

CTS recently had the pleasure of hosting former studio member Thea Haines for her workshop on Natural Dye Printing. Thea is a textile artist and designer who specializes in environmentally sustainable methods, including natural dyes. She is an instructor in textile design at Sheridan College. Her Natural Dye Printing workshop was based on her MA research at Chelsea College of Art and Design, in London, UK.

Workshop Instructor Thea Haines and Natural Dye Colour Charts

The workshop was held over two Sundays in our studio. At the start of the workshop we had the opportunity to view the lovely samples she had brought with her.  They included miles of natural dye colour charts which she had put together as part of her MA research. It was fascinating to see the wide spectrum of colour she has been able to extract from plant material. They weren’t anything like the dull colours many people often imagine when they think of natural dyes.

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Even more interesting than the range of colours she had managed to achieve using natural dyes, was learning about her technique for printing with them.

Thea took us step-by-step through the whole process.  She first covered a range of tannin-rich mordants which can be used to prepare the fabric before dyeing or printing, including gallnut, sumac, myrobalan, pomegranate, cutch, and black walnut. Mordant facilitates the chemical reaction between the natural dye chemicals and the actual fibres of the cloth. This is important because it fixes the dye to the cloth.  We made colour charts with the different mordants, noting the effect of pH, alum and iron on the colour from each mordant.

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Once the cloth has been mordanted, it can be dyed or printed upon with natural dyes.  We used mordanted cloth to produce a colour chart with natural dyes including osage orange, marigold, madder, brazilwood, cochineal, and logwood extract.

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Finally we experimented with block and screenprinting using the dyes.

This workshop was so informative and it was worth it for the colour charts alone as they are a very handy reference for planning future projects using natural dyes.

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Interested in learning more about Natural dye and Natural Dye Printing?  Check out these great books and websites below.  Or register for Thea’s upcoming workshop: Natural Dye Printing; Sat. Oct. 26 + Sun. Oct. 27, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.  Tuition: $300.00 + $50.00 materials fee.  Email for more info.

Further Information:

Adrosko, RJ (1971). Natural Dyes and Home Dyeing. Dover Publications. 160.

Burgess, R (2011). Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes. Artisan. 192

Dean, J (2010). Wild Color: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes. Potter Craft. 144.

Duerr, S (2011). The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes: Personalize Your Craft with Organic Colors from Acorns, Blackberries, Coffee, and Other Everyday Ingredients. Timber Press. 172.

Flint, I (2010). Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles. Interweave Press. 240.

Natural Dye Workshop with Michel Garcia: Colors of Provence Using

Sustainable Methods 2-Disc DVD set; 183 minutes. Slow Fiber Studios, Berkeley, California, 2012

Maiwa. Natural Dyes. (2013) last accessed July 26, 2013.

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