Monday 25 June 2012

Natural Dyeing - Workshop with Claire Wellesley-Smith

I had a lovely weekend on Claire Wellesley-Smith's Natural Dyeing Workshop at The Hive in Shipley.  The two days covered an introduction to natural dyeing using plants from the garden and also kitchen waste such as onions.  The colour palette produced from plants/trees such as woad, elder, walnut, madder and indigo (to name a few) are joyous.  Although some can produce bright colours they certainly aren't harsh like synthetic dyes and really do echo the colour palette of your garden.

Claire is a very good tutor, calm, organised and very willing to share her wealth of experience.  It is not just about learning what you can do with plants etc but also the history behind natural dyeing. It was really interesting.

The other nice thing about attending this workshop was sharing within the group of people attending - all very eager to learn more, getting our hands (with rubber gloves on!) stuck in and delighting in the outcome.  This organic way of dyeing isn't always predictable - so its exciting to see what comes out of the pot and after its dry, the final colour.  Of course you can always dye your fabric first in onion skin dye, once dry (or rised) you can put into the Madder pot and out comes a lovely orange.  Gaining other colours comes with experience.

Claire's guidance produced a room full of colour in silk, wool, yarns, fleece and cottons.  This introduction was exciting and there is so much more to learn.  I am looking to using the fabrics within some patchwork which as I feel the 'slow' process of creating and the calmness it brings is perfect; therefore stitching into the fabric and making slow textiles is another important process.

Thank you Claire, your workshop was wonderful and inspiring.  I would recommend this to everyone who enjoys creating organically, involving the slow process and the excitement the whole process brings, learning a new skill which was just pure fun.

I will post more photographs this week but here are all my fabrics just drying in the sunshine.


  1. Looks lovely, always great to learn new skills made extra special when you have such a good teacher. Looking forward to seeing all your other samples. :)

  2. Lucky you. So glad you are feeling inspired and excited.

  3. Thank you CarolAnn. I really enjoyed it too xx

  4. I wish I lived nearer Claire!
    Lucky you!!