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Indigo & Shibori (Nova Scotia Mainland)

  • Gaspereau Valley Fibres 830 Gaspereau River Road Wolfville, NS, B4P 2R3 Canada (map)

Indigo & Shibori at Gaspereau Valley Fibres

  • with Mel Sweetnam

  • Sunday 16 June, 2019; 10 am to 4:30 pm

  • Cost: $100 + tax (includes instruction & all materials)

Workshop Overview:
Blue is the rarest natural dye colour in the world. Come learn about the amazing rich blue pigments of the indigo plant, and how to dye with it using beautiful resist techniques (folding, clamping, binding, stitching) known as shibori. Indigo is unlike all other natural dyes, and requires its very own specialized methods taught in this workshop. Time permitting, students may also use left-over dye baths from the previous day’s workshop to experiment with over-dyeing (to combine indigo with other plant colours).

Special Package Offer: $170 + tax for both this workshop and the Dyeing for Spring workshop.

Students Will Learn:

  • history of indigo dyeing

  • basic, easy to grasp concepts from chemistry and biology that can make you a much more successful indigo dyer

  • dye studio safety

  • how to properly prepare, manage and use an organic indigo vat

  • special indigo considerations for different types of fibres – i.e. protein (animal kingdom) and cellulose (plant kingdom) fibres

  • foundational techniques in three major categories of shibori: itajime (shaped resist), arashi (pole wrapped resist), and nui (stitch resist)

  • natural post-dye treatments to protect indigo-dyed fibres and prevent pigment loss

Students Take Home: proper dye records and yarn samples, a detailed instructional handout, and the skills to continue experimenting on your own (plus, per above, a starter vat, if you wish).

Bring With You: kitchen gloves, an apron, notebook & pen. If you are interested in taking a starter vat home with you (no cost), please bring a clean pint size jar with a tight fitting lid. These will be filled from the class indigo vat, and can significantly simplify setting up your own vat at home

About The Instructor:Mel Sweetnam is an ecological fibre artist, with particular expertise in natural dyes. She is the founder of Mamie’s Schoolhouse (, a teaching studio focused on sustainable fibre arts, as well as the Cape Breton Fibre Trail ( She is very well known for a range of botanical dye techniques, as well as for the fun and informative mix of art and science in her workshops. She is a juried member of the Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design, the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, and the South Haven Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers. Her work has been featured in international publications, and in an upcoming book on the Maritime’s best contemporary artisans.

Skill level: Beginner