Natural Dyes

by - Saturday, April 25, 2009

2009 Maiwa Textile Symposium

Instructor Charllotte Kwon

What magic does the dyer use to coax colour from nature? Throughout the world this knowledge was guarded carefully, and learning the art often involved elaborate ceremonies and traditions. To this day, natural dyeing retains the same air of mystery and exotic intrigue that has compelled artists and craftspeople for centuries.

Charllotte Kwon’s passionate study of natural dyeing techniques has led her to visit and work with cultures around the world. In this workshop she shares her vast knowledge of natural dye history and use. In addition Charllotte offers insight into her own in-studio processes and demonstrates how to get the most from a range of dyes and fabrics. The student will obtain a good technical understanding of the mordanting processes and the varied uses of natural dyes (indigo, cochineal, madder, fustic, and many others). Gorgeous Turkey reds, indigo blues, and Indian yellows are just a few of the colours achieved as students work on cotton, silks, wools, and linen.

The full spectrum of more than 80 rich earth colours dyed in class will form a source book for each student. These source books are a great inspiration and reference for years to come. Students will also complete several natural dye projects using the direct application of natural dyes and a variety of shibori techniques done with natural indigo.

This popular class has now been expanded to four full days.

Charllotte will also deliver a lecture on Thursday October 15.


Charllotte Kwon is the owner of Maiwa Handprints Ltd. and the director of the Maiwa Foundation. Through Maiwa, Charllotte also runs a textile archive and research library located on Granville Island.

The Maiwa Textile Symposium is the direct result of her enthusiasm for textiles and artisans. She personally pulls together the formidable list of international speakers listed here.

Under her direction Maiwa has produced four documentary films and a number of print publications. She also guides Maiwa’s substantial web presence.

Charllotte travels extensively each year to research handcraft and to supplement her extensive natural dye knowledge. She teaches natural dyeing classes to artisans around the world.


The Quiet Manifesto

Through the Eye of a Needle:
Stories from an Indian Desert

Koekboya (Co-author with Harald Böhmer)


Through the Eye of a Needle:
Stories from an Indian Desert

Indigo: A World of Blue

Tana Bana: Wisdom of the Loom

In Search of Lost Colour:
The Story of Natural Dyes

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