Know-how

Textiles workshops: printmaking & natural dyeing

May 12, 2018

In the last few years I have been eager to learn more about textile design. So I have embarked in a craft journey where I have touched different practices from drawing for textile, to screen & block printing on fabric to natural dyeing. As I have been asked a few times where I did some of my courses, I thought I’d talk about everything here. Plus I have added other suggestions of places where you can study these different techniques.

Screen printing on fabric workshop (weekend) at Central Saint Martins, in London with the talented textile designer Kangan Arora

This course runs over 2 intensive days. You need to arrive prepared with a design in mind so you can start drawing straight away. I picked a few citrus photos, made a collage of them and then we photocopied the repeated pattern black & white so we could prepare the screens. Then we just went on printing. I loved this weekend workshop as Kangan was very helpful and gave us great guidance. Plus the school offers amazing equipment and lots of space for us to print despite a group of 10 to 12 people. I have never used the tea towel but the colours (non natural inks) on tote bags are still vivid.

screen printed tea towel

Screen printed tea towel (2 colours in 2 runs)

Mix of screen printed tote bags & tea towel

screen printed tote bag

Screen printed tote bag (4 colours in one run)

More details on Kangan’s website here and Central Saint Martins short courses section here.

Drawing & painting for textile design with Dominique l’Olive in London, Central Saint Martins (also available online).

This course covers five days or 6 sessions of 1h30 over 6 weeks (online or on site). I loved this course thanks to Dominique who is an extra teacher, very inspiring and very funny too. She pushes you in your entrenchments to bring out your creativity and explores with you colours, textures and other techniques on paper that are prerequisite before any phase of printing on fabric. You start from a mood board and decline a series of designs around the same idea. After this course, I continued to work with Dominique to develop mood boards around my travels in Australia and Greece in particular. I keep them preciously for later …

Textile Print Design in London at the Chelsea College of Arts

This course runs over four days. It seems long but in fact time just flies. You need to arrive prepared with a design in mind so you can start drawing straight away. At the time I was a little obsessed with frangipani flowers. So on the first day I made some samples with a rubber block print, then we printed on paper and then photocopied the repeated pattern black & white so we could prepare the screens. The following days were spent printing and exploring different inks, etc. I really enjoyed this course too, as the school again offers plenty of space with massive printing tables and is well equipped. I am still yet to make some drawstring bags out of some of these samples…

Screen printed fabric samples with pattern repeat

Introduction to Batik dyeing in Ubud, Bali with Nyoman a local textile artist

Two years ago during my trip in Bali, I came across this Batik dyeing course in Ubud. I talked about this wax resist dyeing method in a previous article about Bali’s textile art here. Nyoman is a great teacher with lots of patience. He helps you draw your pattern and then dye during a 3-hour session. I had a great time and finally made a cushion with my piece of fabric.

batik dyeing cushion

Cushion dyed with the Batik technique

Introduction to vegetal dyeing with Aurélia Wolf, in her Parisian studio Whole (3 hours & in French only)

I really liked this workshop as we dyed sample of fabrics with different natural colours (avocado, onion, cachou & indigo). Aurélia’s workshop takes place in the kitchen of her studio which also has a shop space. I left with this flax (or linseed) tea towel dyed with avocado skins. The only thing: not long enough!

avocado dyed tea towel

Avocado dyed tea towel

Introduction to Indigo dyeing, Shibori & resist paste with Colore ton Monde in Sceaux, near Paris (weekend & French only)

In this course we only focused on the Indigo dyeing process and how to make a vat. We tested plenty of techniques for patterns and left with a 5 liter bucket full of indigo so we can keep practising at home. I had an amazing time as the group was small, allowing us to cover a lot. I had brought with me a few fabric samples to do some tests and I returned home with a hand towel, scarf and tea towel!

indigo tea towel

Indigo dyed tea towel with a Shibori technique

indigo tea towel

Indigo dyed tea towel

Then I did a few other tests at home with other colours with the following results:

indigo dyed cushion

Indigo dyed cushion with the Shibori technique

Tea towel turmeric

Old tea towel dyed with turmeric

The only downside with turmeric is that it does not lat long and fades quickly with day light. So for yellows I will have to try with other flowers.

Other places to learn

Here is a non exhaustive list of other workshops around the world I came across whilst doing some research (please feel free to add some if you know other workshops):

France

Couleur Garance, in Lauris (Provence area)

Lainamac, in Felletin (Creuse area)

Atelier Sobre Papel in Vincennes near Paris

L’établisienne in Paris

Paris Ateliers in Paris

Australia

Joanna Fowles, in Sydney, NSW

Shibori, in Sydney, NSW

Sydney Community College, in Sydney, NSW

The School, in Melbourne & Sydney

Dye Haus, in Mt Irvine in the Upper Blue Mountains, NSW

UK

London College of Fashion, in London

Plant Dyed Wool, in Byford

Wild Dye Garden with Flora Arbuthnott, in Bristol & Calmsden

Botanical Inks, in Bristol

Wild Rose Escapes, in Beauly, Cannich (Ecosse)

USA

The Textile Arts Center, in New York City

Graham Keegan, in Los Angeles, CA & Vermont

LAO

Houey Hog Ventiane, in Ventiane

More information on natural dyeing here.

I hope you enjoyed this overview and do let me know if you have any questions. As for me I will continue exploring!

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