mairet-skeins

One Year Natural Dyeing Course with Jenny Dean 2018-19

This course offers a fantastic opportunity to learn from Jenny Dean, a highly experienced teacher who will be using her archive of natural dye material to teach 12 fortunate people in the beautiful setting of the museum.

Ditchling has a rich natural dyeing heritage: weaver and dyer Ethel Mairet lived and worked here at her workshop, Gospels. In 1916, the same year she moved to Ditchling, her seminal book A Book on Vegetable Dyes was published and still has impact on a contemporary generation of natural dye artists. Mairet taught Valentine KilBride who later went on to become a member of the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic, running his weaving and dyeing workshop on Ditchling Common. In 2016 the museum celebrated 100 years of Vegetable Dyes with a live research project and exhibition involving people from all over the world to help recreate as many of the recipes from the first edition that were safe to do so by modern standards. The project was a huge success resulting in over 420 naturally dyed skeins.

Details
Course Length: 1 year (one Sunday a month), beginning Sunday 18 March 2018
Fee: Subsidised price of £180 for 12 days inc. materials
Spaces: 12 spaces available on the course allocated on an application process.

Course Aims and Description
The aim of this comprehensive course is to teach participants how to prepare and use dyes from natural materials to dye both animal and vegetable fibres, following best practices to produce a full spectrum of consistent, fast colours. We will cover a wide range of mordanting and dyeing techniques and the use of colour modifiers; the dyes used will include all the classic traditional dyes, such as madder, weld, cochineal and indigo, and we will also use some dyes in extract form. Participants will learn how to grow, harvest, prepare and use plants for dyeing and how to test dyed samples for light- and wash-fastness. The course will also cover over-dyeing for compound colours and some decorative techniques, such as shibori and contact printing. This will be a hands-on course and the emphasis throughout will be on reliable, safe, environmentally-friendly methods. All materials required for the taught components of the course will be provided and participants will also be able to bring some of their own materials for small samples.

About Jenny Dean
Jenny has been researching and using natural plant dyes for over forty years. She has written widely on the subject and her books include The Craft of Natural Dyeing, Wild Colour, Colours from Nature and A Heritage of Colour. She was featured in a BBC Radio 4 programme with Kaffe Fasset and her work has been the focus of several magazine articles. Jenny’s dyed yarns are in collections at the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and at the Royal Centre for Cultural Heritage in Brussels.

How to Apply
Download and complete the application form below, then email to Lucy Jenner with a covering email

+ Download the application form