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Natural Dye: A Focus on Protein Fibers

August 8 @ 9:00 am - August 12 @ 5:00 pm


Natural Dye: A Focus on Protein Fibers

Catharine Ellis

Monday August 8th- Friday, August 12th

9:00am – 5:00pm

Workshop Overview

This workshop will focus on the best practices for mordanting and dyeing protein fabrics and fibers, including both wool and silk. Purchased dyestuffs and extracts will be used as well as some locally grown plants. There will be discussion on dye selection and methods of testing dyes for longevity.

Students will work with both mordant dyes and natural dyes that can be treated as acid dyes without the use of mordants. There will also be experiments with middle mordanting on silk, color mixing, and color gradations. A natural indigo vat will be used to complete the palette of color.

Emphasis will be placed on experimentation, process, 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 if time permits.

The workshop is complete on its own or can be combined with Natural Dye: A Focus on Cellulose Fibers and Printing for a more comprehensive overview of the natural dye practice.

All levels of experience welcome.

Skills + Techniques

Students will learn:

  • Mordanting
  • Immersion dyeing
  • Using dyes without mordants
  • pH control
  • Dye selection
  • Indigo vats and dyeing
  • Color mixing and shading
  • Cross dyeing
  • 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 requires all students to be vaccinated. Your instructor also 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. Please see our Housing page for options.

$550.00 / per student


7097 Sanborn Road
Loudon, New Hampshire 03307

Call Us

(603) 435-7314


August 8 @ 9:00 am
August 12 @ 5:00 pm
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Sanborn Mills Farm
7097 Sanborn Road
Loudon, NH 03307 United States
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