Sep 13, 2024 - September 15, 2024(9am - 5pm)

Harvesting Color

Taught by: Sara Goodman

Workshop Fee: $405.00

The main product of this class will be a set of approximately 50 – 5” sample swatches, made of 5 different fibers: cotton, linen, wool, silk dupion and silk organza. Students will leave the class with an extensive color library. On the first day of class we will prepare all the cloth for the dye bath with proper scouring and mordanting for both cellulose and protein fibers. Then we will head to the Sanborn Mills dye garden to harvest the flowers we will use in our dye baths. 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 overnight before we make dye baths. Possibilities for modifying colors by changing ph, adding iron, and over-dyeing with indigo will be explored. An indigo vat will be available for overdyeing sections of the color swatches. Students are welcome to bring dye materials from their own gardens or other materials from their home environments to experiment with. Students may also bring 1 or 2 piece of natural fiber clothing from home that they would like to overdye.

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
  • Overdyeing with indigo to expand color range
  • Making sample swatches of dye colors on different fibers: good record keeping


Materials Fee: $30 paid directly to the instructor.

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.

Please be sure to read our policies before you register for a workshop which can be found here Workshop Policies

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