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Natural Dye: A Focus on Cellulose Fibers and Printing-FULL

August 15 @ 9:00 am - August 19 @ 5:00 pm


Natural Dye: A Focus on Cellulose Fibers and Printing

Catharine Ellis 

Monday August 15th- Friday, August 19th

9:00 am- 5:00 pm

Workshop Overview

Natural dyers often find cellulose fibers (cotton, linen, ramie, Tencel, etc.) more challenging to dye with natural colorants than protein fibers. The core of this workshop will cover various approaches to successful mordanting and dyeing of these plant-based fibers.

The class will use both immersion and printing techniques, including mordant printing, direct application of dyes, mordant discharge, and layering of color. Mordants will include both alum and iron and we will use tannins extensively.

The class will make a natural indigo vat and explore immersion dyeing, color mixing, and printing applications with indigo, including indigo discharge and resists.

Emphasis will be placed on experimentation and accurate record keeping. Each student will build a notebook of samples and processes for future reference and use. Small individual projects may be dyed at the end of the week as time permits.

This class will stand on its’ own or can be combined with Natural Dye: A Focus on Protein Fibers for a more comprehensive overview of a natural dye practice.

All levels of experience welcome.

Skills + Techniques

Students will learn:

  • Application of mordants to cellulose for immersion dyeing
  • The role of tannins
  • Mordants for printing
  • Direct application of dye for printing
  • Mordant discharge
  • Indigo vats and dyeing
  • Indigo printing
  • Indigo discharge
  • Color mixing and shading
  • Record keeping


Catharine Ellis 

Tools + Materials

Students should bring:

  • A couple of old towels
  • A loose-leaf binder
  • Small notebook for taking notes
  • Dyes and protein textiles for class experiments will be provided for the entire class but you many want to bring small samples (fibers, yarns, or fabrics) that are typical of your own studio work for experimenting

Material Fee:

  • $75.00-$100.00 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.

$550.00 / per student


7097 Sanborn Road
Loudon, New Hampshire 03307

Call Us

(603) 435-7314


August 15 @ 9:00 am
August 19 @ 5:00 pm
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Sanborn Mills Farm
7097 Sanborn Road
Loudon, NH 03307 United States
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