WORKSHOP Indigo: The Organic Vat

by - Thursday, April 19, 2012

Indigo: The Organic Vat
Michel Garcia

$250 (includes $50 lab fee) class limit 18
October 15, 16 (Mon, Tue) 10am–4pm
Maiwa East, 1310 Odlum Drive, Vancouver, Canada

Dyers can spend years mastering the quirks and personality of a specific indigo dye vat. Indigo has a reputation for being the master of the dyer and sometimes it keeps its magic to itself.

Michel Garcia comes to the vat with a fresh perspective. A background in botany and chemistry and an intense knowledge of colourants combine with his eagerness to share information. During this workshop, some new possibilities for making a natural vat will be presented using henna, dates, figs, pears, or grapes as reagents. Students will be able to easily establish a fast natural vat that can be used to dye any natural fibre.

The natural or organic vat can be fed and maintained with many things. The vat can also be maintained and revitalized through natural ingredients. Students will gain an appreciation of the mechanics of the vat and move beyond any single recipe. Students will leave with a thorough knowledge of the indigo process and will be able to select the appropriate vat to match their 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.

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