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Claudia Gosse All Blog Posts Natural Dyeing News Sustainable Textiles

Yesterday I held my first natural dyeing workshop in its new home -mine!

After several years of packing up the back of the car with all the boxes required to get the equipment to every new workshop venue – that’s pots and pans, sieves and tongs, yarns and fabrics, dyes and mordants, buckets and cloths, hobs and handouts and a lot else besides – I wondered if perhaps it would be better to set up a workshop space at home.

Natural dyeing workbench

Running natural dyeing workshops at Elka Textiles’ studio, just outside Winchester, was a joy; light and airy, plenty of space, surrounded by Ellie’s vibrant textiles and her exotic collection of indoor plants.  However, it wasn’t always like that.  I think the final decision to abandon the ‘mobile’ workshops came following one that took place in a distant and draughty village hall, with difficult access to the all-essential running water and electric sockets.  Just as the lovely attendees from a local craft group and I were saying our goodbyes, the caretaker announced that a ballet class would be arriving in ten minutes – panic! Everyone lent a hand and we managed to empty dye pots, clear the tables and literally throw everything into the back of my car before the first pair of ballet shoes appeared, but what a stress and what a mess!  It was not an experience to be repeated.

So yesterday, instead of setting off at 7am to drive to my location for the day (usually an hour or more) and to make sure I arrived in time to get set up (another hour plus), I was able to set up the workshop the night before.  We are fortunate to have a room in our house which serves as my office space, a dining room, the grandchildren’s art room, a cycle repair shop and for pretty much whatever else is going on – so in this case a natural dyeing workshop.

 Assembling natural dye sample cards

 Being located in the middle of Mere, Wiltshire the house is easy to find and has parking for the maximum of four people that we have on each workshop.   Not having an early start, not having to drive a long way and not fretting over things I may have forgotten, meant I was relaxed and organized when attendees arrived, and the kettle was on.  The space worked well, it was a lively group and I hope everyone enjoyed the day as much as I did.  Thank you to Charlotte for telling us all how to decorate eggs for Easter using wild flowers and onion skins.  Watch this space! 

Tea break!

I'll finish with a lovely review from one of the workshop attendees.

"I really enjoyed this course and would recommend it to anyone. It was so exciting seeing how the things we had dyed turned out, it felt like unwrapping Christmas presents. We dyed different materials to show how differently they took the dyes, then dipped them in modifying solutions to see how other colours could be produced like that. A marvellous beginner's course."

C. Farmer,

To find out more about our natural dyeing workshops, and to book your space, CLICK HERE.

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