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Natural Dyeing: The Fundamentals

with Jacqui Symons

Mon 18 March @ 10:00 am - Thu 21 March @ 4:00 pm


About the Workshop

Learn how to use plants to dye fabrics, yarns and other fibres with artist Jacqui Symons from Slow Lane Studio.

This intensive four-day course concentrates on the fundamentals of natural dyeing, showing you how and where to get started, which plants make good dyes and how to create a range of tones using colour modifiers to get great results. There will be a focus on using plants that can be cultivated in your own garden or gathered locally and Jacqui will teach you where to find sources of colour in your local environment.

You’ll learn about different types of natural dyes, the different formats they come in and how they can be applied to both cloth and yarn. You’ll learn the difference between cellulose and animal fibres, how to achieve good results on both types of fabric and how to measure the amount of dye needed.

We’ll use a number of natural dyes over the course of the four days including madder, weld, rhubarb root, buckthorn bark and buckthorn berry, alongside two different indigo vats, safflower and more. You’ll spend time learning about fabric and yarn preparation including how to scour and mordant properly. We will also explore the process of over-dyeing with indigo to create even more colours.

This course focuses on providing you with the basic skills, knowledge and confidence you’ll need to continue using natural dyes in your own home or studio and for your own projects. The course involves practical activities alongside considerable theoretical elements to give you a thorough knowledge of how to use natural dyes successfully. You will finish the course with a selection of fabric and yarn samples to get you started on your journey into the wonderful world of natural dyes.

Please note, lunches are not included in this course. You may bring your own lunch or there are cafés locally in the village and small supermarkets in Hassocks (20 mins walk/ 5 mins drive).

Dyes can stain clothing, so it is worth bringing an apron or wearing something old that you don’t mind getting dirty.

About the Workshop Leader

Created from a desire to be more environmentally aware, buy and consume fewer products and generate less waste, Jacqui Symons began exploring natural colour and dyes in 2018. She researched and developed the use of plant-based pigments for oil-based printmaking inks and from there expanded into making her own watercolours, pastels, inks, screen printing pastes and dry powdered pigments from plant sources.

In 2019, Jacqui trained under Jenny Dean to learn about the use of natural dyes with textiles and yarns, drawing on Jenny’s 40 years of experience in this field to develop further knowledge and understanding of this increasingly relevant and valuable industry.

Jacqui created Slow Lane Studio to provide resources, information, practical advice and workshops focusing on natural dyeing, plant-based pigments and plant-based artist colours. Alongside working on creative projects and commissions, she is developing a pigment garden and a plant pigment library as a reference and resource for other artists.

Accompanying the exhibition, Double Weave: Bourne and Allen’s Modernist Textiles. 

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