Secrets from the Dye Garden: Extracts and Printing

by - Wednesday, May 13, 2009

2009 Maiwa Textile Symposium

Instructor Michel Garcia

Michel Garcia joins us from the Botanical Garden of Dye Plants in Lauris, France, to share some special techniques for dyeing and printing with extracts.

Some of the difficulties of using powdered dyestuff (such as a high concentration of madder root on wool) 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 dye wool 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. A variation will be presented that permits printing with indigo.

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.

There are many possibilities for creating an indigo vat with natural indigo. Generally speaking, the natural ways using compost leaves or fermentation are difficult and slow. During this workshop, some new possibilities for making a natural vat will be presented using henna, dates, figs, or grapes as reagents. Students will be able to easily establish a fast natural vat that can be used to dye any natural fibre.

Michel Garcia

A French national born in Morocco, Michel Garcia 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.


De la garance au pastel, le jardin des teinturiers

Couleurs végétales: Teintures, pigments et encres

Plantes colorantes, teintures végétales

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