Ikat, Shibori & Indigo: New Paths for Ancient Partners

October 18 – October 22, 2023
9 am to 4 pm


This intensive workshop will teach techniques drawing from two honored traditions: Indigo and Ikat. Students will learn how to establish, use, and maintain a natural indigo vat, dipping both yarn and fabric. Some introductory shibori techniques will be taught on commercially woven cloth. Students will also be instructed in the precise and sequential steps to plan, measure, stretch, wrap, dye, unwrap and weave yarn for warp ikat weaving applications. Through the ikat indigo exercises students with an interest in weaving and surface design will enhance their skills and fluency at both the loom and dye pot.

The Japanese art of shibori, or shaped resist, is a method of manipulating cloth by stitching, folding, pleating, wrapping and binding fabric under pressure, to create patterns on cloth. There are hundreds of precise shibori techniques, and you can also invent your own. The patterns are made by blocking dye from entering the cloth in some places and allowing the dye to seep into others.

Ikat is a refined and beautiful textile technique of resist-dyeing pattern into individual threads before weaving. It is a complex multi-phased fiber process resulting in graphically elaborate and vibrant woven cloth. Ikat wrapped yarns, when dipped in vats of indigo dye, instantly become timeless, immersed in an ancient partnership between tradition, intention, and design.

Participants in this five-day workshop will design, wrap, dye, warp and weave a classic indigo blue and white ikat scarf, while learning the basic technique of the shifted warp ikat process.

This class is a rare opportunity to study with contemporary weaver, Mary Zicafoose and indigo dyer, Sara Goodman as they merge their respective talents to offer this unique experience in cloth making.

Materials Fee: $50 Covers notebook of instructions and recipes, dye, cloth for shibori, ikat tape, auxiliary supplies.

Special Tools or Equipment / Materials and Equipment students will need to bring:

You will need:
* 2-4 harness floor or table loom with a 10, 12 or 15 dent reed
* portable warping board
* two 3” C-Clamps to secure warping board to work table
* tying-off yarn/thread in a different color & weight than your warp
* set of lease sticks that fit your workshop loom
* scissors, tape measure, shuttles, etc.
* your preferred header weaving material
* paper or sticks for rolling on your 3 + yard warp
* Two 3/4” or 1” diameter wooden dowels cut 2” shorter than the width of your loom
* sturdy cotton, linen or synthetic chord, small ball, approx. 8 yards
* small tube of super glue

Warp Calculation: Pick a natural fiber warp yarn that you are interested in working with and that you think will make a lovely canvas for your ikat wrapping/dyeing. We are striving for a densely sett warp dominant cloth, not a balanced 50-50 weave, to showcase the beautiful ikat that will be dyed on each individual warp thread.
You will bring your warp yarn(s) to class where we will stretch, measure and wrap our warps together.

*warp yarn suggestions for a 10, 12 or 15-dent reed:
5/2 perle cotton, white or natural, 8-10 oz
20/2 silk, white or natural, 4-6 oz
8/2 Tencel, white or natural, 7-9 oz
20/2 Normandy Linen, white or bleached ivory, 6-8 oz

*weft yarn suggestions: Your weft should be a much finer fiber than your warp in order to create a dense warp-face weave. This will allow the ikat dyed pattern on the warp threads to be the showstopper. We will dye our warps and weft fibers in the class prepared Indigo vat. The simplest weft solution, which does not require the additional step of dyeing very fine weft threads, is to use a blue shade of commercially dyed 60/2 silk, 50/2 silk, 30/2 silk, 20/2 Pearl cotton, 10/2 Tencel, or 40/2 linen. You will only need 2-3 oz of weft. However, if you want your weft to match your warp, it must be dyed at the same time. To save time at the workshop, pre-skein your weft fiber selection(s) (2-3 oz) into a hank with several loose figure 8 ties to secure and stabilize it from twisting and knotting in the vat.

* Sanborn Mills has a few looms students can use as well as some warping boards. These will be assigned on a first come basis.

All necessary indigo dye and cloth for shibori will be provided.

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.