Intro to Botanical Alchemy

Intro to Botanical Alchemy


Do you want to try plant dyes but don’t know where to start? Have you already done some natural dyeing, but would like to expand your understanding and range of techniques? This workshop is the perfect overview of the magical world of beautiful pigments from Nature.

Students Will Take Home:

  • mini-skeins of Cape Breton wool plus small fabric samples dyed in the workshop for use in other crafts and/or as a reference library of techniques

  • dye records showing the key variables in achieving successful results

  • the skills to further explore the magic of plant colour

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  • Date: multiple (see drop down menu)
  • Location: in/near Baddeck (students will sent venue details by email)
  • Time: 10 am to 4 pm (with 1 hour for lunch - not provided)
  • Experience: beginner to intermediate
  • Supplies Fee: $25 (tax inclusive), payable directly to the instructor (for yarn, fabric, dyes, etc.).
  • Tax: this web platform collects Nova Scotia's 15% HST for those with a Canadian billing address; for others, HST is payable at the workshop (a receipt will be provided).
  • In Person Payments: cash or credit card
  • Age: 19 due to the use of hot dye vats
  • Minimum Registrants To Proceed: 4
  • Promo Code: ’online10%’ for online registration only
  • Walk-ins: welcome, space permitting
  • Terms of Service: registration constitutes agreement with the Terms of Service.

In recent years, there has been a significant resurgence in interest in natural fibres and natural dyes, as people grow more concerned about the effects of their own, and the planet’s, exposure to toxic chemicals. Also, many people are motivated to rediscover crafts that are a part of our collective human heritage, connect us to our ancestors’ ways of life, and immerse us in a respectful and creative relationship with the natural world.

In this one day introductory workshop, students will be introduced to the ancient history and current ecological practices for creating beautiful dye colours from readily available plants from the garden, kitchen, and the roadside.

While the importance of, and methods for, mordanting will be taught, in the interests of time, pre-mordanted fibres will be provided as part of the supplies fee noted above.

Students Will Learn:

  • about different types of fibres/textiles (i.e. protein vs. cellulose based fibres) and why they need to be treated differently (scouring & mordanting)
  • about growing and/or ethically/sustainably foraging plants with natural mordant and/or dye properties
  • how to prepare plant material to maximize dye yield
  • how to prepare fibres to maximize colour uptake, wash and light fastness
  • how to create a range of hues from a few, easily available plants, from over-dyeing, and from other natural substances (various mordants, assists and modifiers)
  • natural post-dye treatments to protect fibres
  • good record keeping so that dye results can be reproduced