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Natural Dye: Observation & Understanding

  • Maiwa East 1310 Odlum Drive Vancouver, BC, V5L 3M3 Canada (map)

With Catharine Ellis & Joy Boutrup

$495 [Includes $100 lab fee] class limit 16. Sep 12-14 (Wed-Fri) 10am-4pm.

This workshop will bring together two complementary perspectives to develop a better understanding of the natural dye process.

It is often said that knowledge is power—but for the natural dyer, knowledge opens doors to freedom and creativity.

Join Joy Boutrup (a scientist) and Catharine Ellis (artisan weaver and dyer) as they bring new clarity to the natural dye process. Beginning with fibre types, the class will proceed experimentally, looking at mordanting, colour mixing, dye sequencing, cross dyeing, and finishing. Also included will be immersion dyeing, printing, and indigo vat dyeing. The experimental modules permit questions and clarifications after each experiment: a wonderful structure for learning. The class will also touch on dye standards, colour fastness, and choice of dyes.

The focus will be on “why” specific approaches work and have been used in both traditional cultures and industry.

Supply List PDF

Catherine Ellis is a textile artist and educator. She developed the process of woven shibori in which special threads are added during weaving and then manipulated to create resist patterns during dyeing. Catharine directed the Professional Craft Fiber Program at Haywood Community College for 30 years and has now focused her explorations on the use of natural dyes. She teaches and exhibits internationally and is active in the Textile Society of American and Surface Design Association. Catharine is the author of Woven Shibori (Interweave Press, 2005 and 2016). She lives in the mountains of North Carolina.


Joy Boutroup has a background in textile engineering, specializing in textile chemistry. Her main strength is the ability to analyze structures, develop new methods and techniques, and solve problems in connection with the practical realization of ideas in textile art and conservation. Joy’s unique ability to teach in an accessible manner and to convey the deeper structures of fibres and dyes has had a profound influence on textile designers and artists. Joy has taught at design schools in Denmark and at the School of Conservation in Copenhagen. She lives in Sorø, Denmark.

Earlier Event: September 12
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Later Event: September 13
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