Parent Ed: Plant Dye Workshop

Parent Ed: Plant Dye Workshop
1/17/2020, 4:00 PM 8:00 PM
Highland Hall

This class is Part Two of Ms. Lewis' Plant Dye Workshop Series, covering the glories of Cochineal. If you love all things pink, come experience the range of colors possible from this one precious dye! Full description is below.

Contact Ms. Lewis directly to register for the class or if you have any questions.

Cost: $120.00 (this includes all dye supplies)

Ms. Lewis will provide snacks; please bring some dinner for yourself.
Bring a notebook to record your observations and keep samples in.
Bring rubber gloves and write your name on them.
Also, and this is optional- bring 3 matching buttons to serve as your name tag in the dye pot.

Description: Plant Dye Workshop in Four Parts

Part One: Exploring the Mysteries of the Colors All Around Us

Since before recorded history we have been enchanted, soothed, excited and healed by nature's colors. We have used color to express what is unique about us and also what we have in common. Come with me and find the hidden colors in plants that surround us every day. Using fresh herbs and flowers from the hillsides (and the kitchen) we will dye silks and woolen yarns. Each plant has a special qualities all it's own and a gift to give us. You may be surprised to find out what that might be.

I will prepare some fibers for you before hand, and give a tutorial for the scouring and mordent process, along with sources for the ingredients needed. We will dye rainbows three ways! One on yarn and two on silk for you to take home. My guess is, you will never look at the world in the same way when you are done.

Part Two: Bugs are the Best!

One natural dye that changed history actually comes from insects! The Cochineal is a scale insect which lives on the Prickly Pear cactus. Since 1,000 BCE, Cochineal was used in South and Central America. When it became available in Europe in the 1600s, it was worth it's weight in gold. The Cochineal Red was used exclusively by the military and the clergy for some time. In recent years, it has been used in cosmetics and as food coloring…( Strawberry Frapuccino anyone? I am not kidding). If you love pinks in all shades, this is your class!

Using wool yarn and 2 silks that I have prepared for you, we will discover the vibrant reds and sweet pinks this special dye can yield. (Don't worry, we don't have to gather them, I have a source for the freeze-dried version- more convent I think.) I will also introduce the modifying bath, or after bath technique, for some extra surprises.

Part Three: Rock Stars of the Plant Dye World

Before the sea routs to America were discovered, Red and Purple dyes were extremely hard to come by. Murex shellfish were used to dye purple. It took 1,200 shell fish to make 1.5 ounces of pure dye. Imagine how rare and expensive it was! When Brazilwood and Logwood were discovered in South America, everything changed. Suddenly, these deep colors could be found in abundance from the heartwood of these two trees. Come experience how satisfying it is to dye with these rich colors!
I will prepare two silks and a skein wool yarn for you to dye and take home. You will learn how the addition of some simple ingredients can add more color possibilities to the dye pot.

We will finish with a small braiding project to make a trim suitable for any Renaissance garment.

Part Four: Unraveling the mysteries of Indigo

In this class we will prepare two natural indigo vats, using only natural ingredients.
We will dye fabric and yarn. I will ask the group about your interests regarding Indigo dyeing. We might do Shibori resist or rice past resist. Both are fascinating and fun to do with children.

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