LECTURE Why We Dye: Insights from the Chromatic World

by - Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 Maiwa Textile Symposium Lecture

Michel Garcia $15
Thursday October 6 - 7:30 pm
Net Loft Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

In 2011, Michel Garcia returns from France to provide a survey of some of the most interesting facets of his work as a natural dye chemist.

Well versed in both botany and chemistry, Michel Garcia is perhaps most widely recognized as the founder of Couleur Garance, the garden of natural dye plants created in Lauris, France. As a curious investigator of dyestuff and dye procedures, Mr. Garcia has been asked to troubleshoot and fine-tune natural dye works all over the world.

In this talk he will share some of his experiences as they relate to the peculiarities and quirks of working with natural colour. In Michel’s words, “If we move away from standard models of thinking about natural dyes and instead consider that every plant has its own secrets that are defined by its specific composition, then we can discover several new possibilities to create and fix natural colours.”

Michel will present some examples of unusual dye plants: a rare Asiatic bush which gives a soluble indigo, red dyes from plants and insects which can be fixed with acidic and protein components obtained from other plants, and bio-accumulators of aluminium which can be used as mordants to obtain logwood blue.

This will be a fascinating talk for both experts and those who are new to natural dyes.

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.

Michel teaches and advises internationally on natural colours and dyes.

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