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Six Reasons to Take a Natural Dye Workshop

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

Bundle dye samples from a workshop in Cascais, Portugal

One of the central goals of Tinctorium Studios is to share the knowledge of natural dyes. Since the advent of synthetic dyes, natural dye traditions were forgotten and almost lost. Recent environmental concerns and a longing to live in harmony with the planet has launched a natural dye renaissance.

Explaining the results of grevillea ecoprints

In the big picture, I believe that holding natural dye workshops is extremely important to keeping this magical tradition alive and demonstrating the value of local biodiversity. On a more personal scale, I love learning from workshop students and can't help but be inspired by participants' excitement.

For me, teaching these workshops is a way to honor all the natural dyers that came before me to keep the practice going and build an 'army' of natural dye stewards. For students, natural dye workshops offer a way to quickly learn everything they need to start their own wild color explorations. Here are six reasons why I think taking a natural dyeing workshop might be interesting to you:

  1. You can get to know your neighbourhood and the plants that surround you on a whole new level. When you start working with natural dyes, your eyes open up to a whole new world. Plants you've walked by hundreds of time will catch your attention and weeds will become fascinating sources of texture and color. You'll find yourself picking up fallen leaves from the ground and identifying species you don't recognise. In no time, you might even build up a record of the plants around your home.

  2. Natural dyeing is a craft that makes you more self-sufficient. If you're into upcycling and crafting, natural dyeing can be one of your best tools. You can dye stained fabrics, modify colors you don't like, and refresh your wardrobe periodically. You can also make your crafting more sustainable by making plant-based paint, working with natural materials, and relying on foraged color.

  3. You don't need to buy a lot of stuff to get started. Most of what you need for natural dyeing can be found already in your home or foraged from the neighbourhood. You may need to buy some mordants or reserve a special pot just for dyeing, but they're very inexpensive. For the most part, this isn't a craft that requires you to buy specialised tools and allows you to work with what you have.

  4. Connect with other creatives who will become allies in your natural dye journey. One of the best parts of participating in these creative workshops is meeting and learning from the other people in the course. Whether you are new to Portugal or not, this is a great space to get to know people who share similar interests - who knows, you might even meet your natural dye bff!

  5. Learning about natural dyeing can be confusing. When you learn about natural dyeing on your own it can be very overwhelming. There is a lot of false, misleading and contradictory information on the internet. This leads to unsatisfying results or confusion as to what process to follow. When you participate in a natural dye workshop you will get reliable information, benefit from my years of experience and knowledge of working with local plants, be able to ask all your question, and have a point of reference should any other questions come up along the way.

  6. Challenge yourself to learn something new! Around New Years, Fabrica Moderna and I were featured in an RTP interview about new things to try out in the New Year. Trying new things is a way to challenge yourself and grow as a person. Natural dyeing will make you develop your patience, attention to detail, and creativity. It's a great way to disconnect from the virtual world and spend some time engaging with plants. You don't need to be a skilled artist to create incredible works of art. Watch the full RTP interview on YouTube.

Tinctorium Studio offers workshops in natural dyeing, ecoprinting, and natural paint making. You can check out my upcoming workshops or reach out to schedule a private workshop for your event, party, or team building. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you and unlocking a world of magical, living, natural colors.

If you have other reasons why you want to attend a natural dye workshop, please comment below!

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