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Natural Dye Basics: Foraging for Color

September 29 @ 9:00 am - October 1 @ 5:00 pm


Natural Dye Basics: Foraging for Color

Sara Goodman

Thursday, September 29th – Saturday, October 1st 

9:00am – 5:00pm

Workshop Overview

 The Natural Dye Basics workshop series at Sanborn Mills Farm is taught by our lead teacher, Sara Goodman.  This series of 5 classes are an introduction to the colorful world of natural dyes.  Each class stands alone — take one or take them all! Each class will include the basics of proper fiber preparation as well as an orientation to the studio’s procedures and practices.

In this workshop, students will learn to use foraged wild materials for use in the dye pot. On the first day of class, students will learn the proper fiber preparation and mordanting for cellulose and protein fibers with both alum and iron. Protein (yarn) and cloth samples will be dyed in these baths. The class will then go outdoors to collect dye materials. At this time of year there, there will be many materials available for collection. Students will collect leaves from trees, nuts, bark, wildflowers, roots and lichen. The class will then return to the studio with their collected dye treasures to photograph, identify, and prepare the material for dyeing. Most collected material will require an overnight soak before being made into a bath. Possibilities for modifying colors by changing pH, adding iron, and over-dyeing with indigo will be explored.

Students should be prepared to walk the grounds of Sanborn Mills Farm, including woods paths, trails, and fields. 

Skills + Techniques

Students will learn:

  • Fiber preparation: scouring for cellulose and protein
  • Identifying dye materials in the field
  • Exploring, collecting, and processing foraged dye material
  • Mordanting with alum and iron
  • Making samples of dye colors on different fibers for record keeping


Sara Goodman

Tools + Materials

Students should bring:

  • Students should dress and prepare for walking outside in the woods, trails, and fields
  • Gardening gloves and clippers
  • Students are welcome to bring dye stuffs with them that they have collected on their own for the group to try

Material Fee:

  • $50 includes fabric for samples, all dyes and assists, notebook of recipes and instructions paid at time of workshop


  • Please read our COVID-19 Policy prior to registering
  • We are honoring each instructor’s specific COVID-19 safety requests. For this workshop, your instructor reserves the right to require additional safety requirements depending on the state of the pandemic at the time of the workshop

Housing + Meals

Housing and meals will be available on-site in 2022. We will let all registered students know when housing registration is open. Spots will be first-come, first serve. The option to choose meals will be open to all students. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

$300.00 / per student

This Class


7097 Sanborn Road
Loudon, New Hampshire 03307

Call Us

(603) 435-7314


September 29 @ 9:00 am
October 1 @ 5:00 pm
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Sanborn Mills Farm
7097 Sanborn Road
Loudon, NH 03307 United States
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