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Natural Dye Workshop

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Course Information

Natural dye scarf by Vanessa Greger

Monday to Friday 10 am -  4 pm, one week

Maximum class size: 6

Natural dye workshops are few and far between, and most deal primarily with the dyeing of wool yarns.

This course challenges this tradition by incorporating the dyeing of yarns with fabric design and product development.

Due to the technical nature of dyeing and the space available in our textile dye workshop this course is limited to six places.

Course Code


Course Dates

13th August 2018 – 17th August 2018

Course Fee

Course Description

Dyeing with natural plant dyes is the oldest form of fabric colouration and has recently been rising in popularity.

It's always had an established following in the folk and new age market, but the recent shift in demand for more natural and healthy alternatives has dramatically increased interest in this art.

This course will teach you the science and practical application of this subject.

It'll also show you how to engage with the network of those involved in eco fashion, ethical fashion, folk fashion and natural dye providers.

The ideal attendees are knitters and weavers as well as fashion and textile technicians, students and designer/makers.

Additionally, anyone interested in ethical and sustainable fashion and textiles who want to find an avenue to this market will be very welcome.

On this course you will:

  • learn about the most popular natural dyes such as madder, indigo and logwood, as well as lesser known fugitive dyes such as the use of blackberries, elderberries, nettles, lichens and various other fresh leaves and berries
  • learn about the low toxicity of natural dyes and their reputation as a healthy alternative to modern synthetic dyes
  • undertake simple processes that will allow you to dye at home or in the studio
  • be introduced to the varying techniques that have been recorded by dyers (and which have varying degrees of success)
  • learn about print techniques including tie dye, shibori, solar dyeing, anthotyping, screen printing and hapa zome, as well as printing using solutions of differing pH and modifiers.

What will you gain?

As well as leaving with samples of naturally dyed fabric and products in development, you'll have enough knowledge to source the paraphernalia needed in order continue.

You might also want to develop a business plan during the course. You might already have a fabric or yarn selling business, so this course would enable you to expand your range.

Tutor profile: Vanessa Greger is a designer specialising in natural dyes.

Her research into anthotyping (which is relatively untouched method of natural dye print design) as well as other sun exposure techniques was presented at the Textile Institute World Conference 2016.

Because there’s a limited range of literature related to the use of natural dyes (and many of the techniques she uses are new and relatively unpublished) Vanessa is keen to share her knowledge, skills and enthusiasm with people of all backgrounds.

Not from Nottingham? Find out more about accommodation on our doorstep.

Any questions? Contact the short course team:

Email: creativeshortcourses@ntu.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2813