Renegade Screen Printing with Natural Dyes
Learn to screen print your own unique designs and dye fabrics, all using natural dyes! Forget depending on textile companies or synthetic dyes—you'll be free to find rebellious color in your local environment, your kitchen, and from natural sources around the world. You won't need a lot of special equipment either—we'll work with tools and processes you can use almost anywhere, to make infinitely varied designs. We'll bust myths, explore the science behind natural dyes and mordants, and fuse ancient traditions with new ideas. You'll learn to make a whole range of long-lasting red, yellow, and brown tones, both printed and in a dye bath for background colors. Take this course on its own, or with combine it with White on Blue: Organic Indigo and Resist Printing to add blue to your natural color palette and use the same screens to print resists for the indigo vat.
We’ll work through all the steps in this process together: preparing fabrics, making dye pastes, assembling small screens for printing, designing and cutting stencils, and printing. Working with natural dyes is a great way to reclaim a sense of place and individuality in our clothing and textiles, as well as a more sustainable craft practice. You'll leave this course with all the skills needed to prepare, dye, and screen print on any natural fiber fabric, using any natural dyes you can find.
You will need the following tools for this class:
- Comfortable clothes and shoes which you don't mind getting dye on, and/or an apron
- Rubber gloves
- An old plain terry cloth bath towel (bring two if you have room when packing)
- An old sheet or a few yards of expendable smooth fabric (for a printing/steaming surface)
- A few light-colored, small- to medium-sized fabric items to dye and print on as time permits, such as: scarves or bandanas, pillowcases, dishtowels, T-shirts, or smaller cuts of fabric for later projects. These can be made of either cellulose fiber (cotton/linen/hemp etc.) or protein fiber (silk/wool/alpaca etc.), but must be all natural fiber, and should not include any synthetic fiber content. New and used/thrifted items both work well. Things you feel free to play and experiment with are the best. All other required tools/materials are provided by your instructor and North House and will be available once the course begins.
Between now and class time, look around for designs and patterns that you see and like, whether they are printed patterns or images from nature and everyday life. Keep a physical or digital record of these, and bring it with you for design inspiration. If you aren't comfortable drawing, bring a few images printed full size, to trace. (If you don't get designs prepared, don't worry, the landscape around the North House campus is also a great source of ideas.)
Once registered, students will receive a confirmation email with further class information. Please call us if you haven't received it within 24 hours.