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Soapmaking with Natural Dyes

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

With Vennie Chou

$395 [Includes $90 lab fee] class limit 16. Feb 23, 24, 25, 2018 (Fri, Sat, Sun 10am-4pm).

Soapmaking is a blend of basic chemistry, medicine, aromatherapy, and art. One of the most exciting aspects of this craft is the incorporation of natural dye plants—both as colourants and as medicinals.

In this three-day workshop, students will be led through the basic chemistry behind the traditional soapmaking process. This area is rich with insights, as students come to understand why and how soapmaking works. We then move on to a consideration of natural dyes: the modern research and facts about their medicinal properties, and how best to use their colouring agents.

This is an intensive, hands-on workshop in which students make solid bar soap, liquid soap, and foam soap. Students will also learn different soap-design techniques, such as layering, marbling, and hand-milling. We will focus these techniques on using natural dyes. Additional soap recipes will be given for students to experiment with at home.

Students will be presented with several approaches to eco-wraps for soaps. These creative flourishes can be what transforms the hand-made soap into a complete and finished package.

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About Vennie Chou

Vennie Chou has always been fascinated by the medicinal properties of natural dyes. She started making her own soap and natural skin care products when her first son developed eczema at a very young age. She has been making natural skin care products for 20 years.

Vennie has worked as a histo-technologist (the study of human tissue using dyes) for 28 years. She currently works at the BC Cancer Agency and BC Cancer Research Centre in Vancouver. Vennie is also one of the scientific board members of the International Perfume Foundation in Paris, France.

As she says, “I have always been fascinated with the fact that dyes are more than just a colouring agent and that they are diagnostic tools in the labs. The more I study the medicinal properties of natural dyes, the more I apply them to my products, and the more I like to share my findings with others.”

In addition to her work as a technologist, Vennie works as textile designer at home and at the studio of To Dye For Designs in Vancouver.