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Natural Dye Basics: Harvesting Color from the Dye Garden

August 3 @ 9:00 am - August 5 @ 5:00 pm


Natural Dye Basics: Harvesting Color from the Dye Garden

Sara Goodman

Wednesday, August 3rd- Friday, August 5th

9:00am – 5:00pm

Workshop Overview

In this workshop, students will learn the varieties of natural dye plants that grow successfully in our region, harvest and process plants used for natural dyes from the Sanborn Mills Farm dye garden, and create dye baths with the fresh plant material to dye protein and cellulose fibers. The first day of this class will cover proper fiber preparation and mordanting for cellulose and protein fibers with both alum and iron. Students will then dye the yarn and cloth samples in these dye baths. In the afternoon, students will go to the dye garden to harvest several kinds of flowers to use in dye baths such as weld, coreopsis, calendula, marigold, rudbeckia, and cosmos. The dye plants will then soak overnight to be used the next day in dye baths. Students will also dig madder root and prepare the root to be used for dyeing. Finally, students will pick indigo leaves and extract the pigment using the water extraction method. This is a two-day process that will result in a dark blue “pudding” that can be used for a small dye vat. If there is time, the class may also make dye baths from dried plant materials from the 2021 harvest, in order to compare the end results from fresh and dried plants

Skills + Techniques

Students will learn:

  • Fiber preparation: scouring for cellulose and protein
  • Identifying dye materials in the garden that can grow in our region
  • Mordanting fibers with alum and iron
  • Making dye baths from fresh dye materials: flowers, leaves, & roots
  • Extracting indigo pigment from fresh indigo leaves: Persicaria tinctoria
  • Making samples of dye colors on different fibers for record-keeping


Sara Goodman


  • 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


August 3 @ 9:00 am
August 5 @ 5:00 pm
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Sanborn Mills Farm
7097 Sanborn Road
Loudon, NH 03307 United States
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