Harvesting Color

August 24 – August 27, 2023
9 am to 5 pm


The first day of this class will cover proper fiber preparation and mordanting for cellulose and protein fibers with alum. We will dye both yarn and cloth samples in our dye baths using plants from the dye garden here at the farm and materials we collect from the forest and field. At this time of year there will be many plants available for collection. We will look for leaves from trees, nuts, bark, wildflowers, and roots. We can even experiment with some food scraps that give good color. We will bring these treasures back to the studio to photograph, identify and then prepare for dyeing. Most everything will need a good long soak over night before we make dye baths. Possibilities for modifying colors by changing ph, adding iron, and over-dyeing with indigo will be explored.

Skills and Techniques:

• Fiber preparation: scouring for cellulose and protein
• Identifying dye materials in the dye garden and the field
• Mordanting with alum potassium sulfate and alum acetate
• Modifying colors with soda ash, citric acid and iron after-baths
• Making samples of dye colors on different fibers for record keeping

Materials Fee: $50 — includes fabric for samples, all dyes and assists, notebook of recipes and instructions. Additional dye blanks (shawls and scarves) will be available for purchase.

Special Tools or Equipment:

• Students will need to come dressed for walking outside in the woods 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.
• Students are welcome to bring one or two pieces of natural fiber clothing to over dye.

Instructors COVID preference: Your instructor reserves the right to require safety requirements depending on the state of the pandemic at the time of the workshop.

Workshop Policies

Please be sure to read our policies before you register for a workshop.

Age Requirements

The minimum age to attend a regularly scheduled workshop is 16 years. We have set this age to ensure a safe, productive, and community-building experience for all of our students. There are no exceptions.

Accessibility & Accommodations

If you have questions about accessibility or would like to request reasonable accommodations, please contact our main office at 603-435-7314.

Student Cancellations

Cancellations must be made at least 30 days prior to the start date of a workshop in order to receive a refund.
Registration and material costs will be refunded, minus a non-refundable $25.00 registration fee.
A full refund will be made for any amount paid for overnight housing.

Sanborn Mills Farm Cancellations

Each workshop must have a minimum number of students to be held. If Sanborn Mills Farm finds it necessary to cancel a workshop, we will notify students two weeks prior to the scheduled workshop start date.
A full refund will be provided to registered students. Refunds for a workshop purchased as a gift will be made to the purchaser only. Sanborn Mills Farm cannot be held responsible for any refunds for travel expenses or for off-site housing expenses incurred as the result of a cancellation of any kind.

Housing & Meals

Please refer to our housing page for more information.


Each workshop has its own safety procedures. Your instructor will review the specific safety requirements at the start of your workshop and throughout your class. Sanborn Mills Farm is a rural setting. If you are allergic to insect bites, please alert your instructor of your allergy and bring an epipen with you. For draft animal workshops or courses requiring time in the woods, be sure to review tick safety procedures from Tick Free NH. We advise students to wear comfortable clothing, comfortable and secure shoes, and consider your personal needs for a day or extended stay.