Botanical Dyeing

Lauren MacDonald

In the Botanical Dyeing Workshop we’ll use common food waste items to tie dye items that you have at home. Lauren MacDonald from Working Cloth will teach you how to prepare a dye bath and use physical resist techniques to create a variety of tie dye patterns. Dyeing is a process that requires patience — due to its nature you may not finish your tie dye during the two-hour session.

All you will need for the workshop:

– Device with webcam and Zoom
– A stainless-steel pot – It is best to use one that you don’t plan on cooking food in again. If you use an aluminium or copper pot the metals will react with the dye and cause the colour to change.
– Tongs or a big spoon
– String, rubber bands, or clothespins
– A heat source
– Water
– Rubber gloves
– Synthrapol (optional, but recommended)
– Soda Ash (optional, but recommended)
– Alum (optional, but recommended)
– Things to dye – These should be a natural fibre like cotton, linen, silk or wool NOT polyester or acrylic as they won’t take the dye. Small items are easiest to work with like socks, scarves, and T-shirts. Items should fit easily in your dye bath with lots of room to float around, as crowding the dye bath leads to uneven colour.
– Food waste dyestuffs*

*For your dyestuff you can pick from the following colours:

– Red + yellow onion skins – These can be stored at room temperature in a bowl or cloth bag. You’ll need enough to fill your big pot. Keep your onion skin colours separate as they produce different colours.
Yellow onions give golds to orange browns
Red onions give pinks to rusty browns
– 5-10 Avocado pits and skins – These can be rinsed and frozen until you use them.
Colours: Soft blush pinks
– 3-4 big pomegranate rinds – These can be rinsed and frozen until you use them.
Colours: Lemon yellows – khakis with an iron modifier

Lauren MacDonald is a multidisciplinary artist and designer. Her approach and aesthetic have been tempered through academic studies in Material Culture and Textile Science, vocational experience in the London Fashion Industry, and an ongoing obsession with materiality, form, and functionality. Her practice is textile focussed and spans interaction design, installation, sculpture and 2 dimensional stitched forms.

The workshop is open to a maximum of 10 participants (age 16+) on a first come, first served basis. Attendance at the workshop costs £15 with all proceeds supporting our After School Club for the local state school students.

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