Playing with Nature

Did you know that rosebuds and lavender with lemon juice can create a brilliant pink dye? Or that exquisite shades of blue come from dogwood bark, saffron petals or purple iris, while the soft greens of nature’s palette can be made from the spinach leaves or Artemisia growing in your garden?

Ignite your creativity with visiting fibre artist and professional herbalist, Sarah Orlowski, at a weekend intensive on natural dye making and nature art at Innisfree Farm in the lovely Comox Valley. Discover the beauty of natural dyes made from ripe fruit, vegetables & nuts, roots, bark, even rusty nails and vinegar, and experiment with creating nature-inspired art in other forms and mediums as well.

The three-day workshop, August 10-12, covers the various aspects of dye making from natural sources, primarily local plants, and their use in the fabric arts. Students will learn to safely identify and harvest dye plants; how to prepare the fibre; maintaining dye baths and the use of colour fixing mordants; different dyes from various latitudes and ways to alter dye colours; the use of dyes on eggs and other materials, and how to care for naturally dyed fabrics.

While the dye processes take place, there will be time to enjoy creating original artwork from natural sources and inspirations. Sketching, printmaking, natural stencils and 3D art forms will all be explored.

Students should come prepared with rain and sun gear, good walking shoes, water bottle, sketchbook and note taking paper, pens and pencils, and one piece of natural fibre cloth or clothing that they may want to dye. If you have pastels, pencil crayons and paints, bring them along to enhance your creative flow. While most dye-making supplies will be provided, Orlowski requests those who would like to come start saving onion skins now to contribute to a dye bath.  The cost for the three day workshop is $225, which includes handouts and a lunch each day along with most dye supplies. For more information contact (250) 336-8767 or

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