Secrets of the Dye Garden
October 12-14 (Fri-Sun) 10am–4pm
Maiwa East, 1310 Odlum Drive, Vancouver, Canada
This class was the most talked-about workshop of 2011. Michel Garcia’s deep knowledge of dye chemistry is communicated in metaphor, humour, and wit. Students learn not only what happens with dyes but why. A founder of the Botanical Garden of Dye Plants in Lauris, France, Michel returns to share some special techniques for dyeing and printing with extracts.
The difficulties of using powdered dyestuff (such as a high concentration of madder root) can be avoided altogether if the dyer makes an extract. An extract also presents a wealth of opportunities as it can be applied directly to a piece. In this workshop students will make different soluble extracts and use them to immersion-dye natural fibres both as a primary colour and as the basis for a second over-dyed colour. The class will use extracts to print directly onto cotton using blocks and paintbrush.
Printing with extracts can be expanded to mordants and mordant/dye combinations. Thickening techniques will be covered so that the student learns to make the dye the right consistency for the technique.
Michel Garcia is a French national born in Morocco. He was nineteen when he first discovered natural dyes. Since then he has followed his love of both plants and pigments. In 1998 he formed the association Couleur Garance (Madder Colour). The association hoped to connect young ecologically sensitive artisans with the substantial expertise of an older generation of dyers. Under his direction, Couleur Garance produced over twenty monographs on natural dyes and dye plants.
In 2002 Michel founded the Botanical Garden of Dye Plants at the Château de Lauris. In 2003 an international forum and market for natural dyes was added. A year later a resource centre was established.
In 2006 Michel handed over leadership of Couleur Garance so that he could further pursue his interest in colour and dye techniques. He has published three titles on natural dyes showing the range of shades available and how to obtain them.
Michel teaches and advises internationally on natural colours and dyes.