A film series and discussion forum dedicated to the science and practice of natural dyes and pigments using sustainable methods.
Workshop Demonstrations by Michel Garcia
Led by Yoshiko I. Wada
Medieval Tapestries + European Dye Traditions + Modern Organic Chemistry + Workshop Demonstrations + Filming of Natural Dye Workshop IV
The 2018 Natural Dye Workshop Tour in France will culminate at the new studio of our mentor Michel Garcia in Brittany, a region inhabited by humans since the Lower Paleolithic Period. Michel continues his research and experimentation to unlock the mysteries of natural colors from the peninsula regions along the northern Atlantic coast, as well as from his world travels where he engages with local communities.
Workshops + Filming
25 March – 01 April 2018
7 nights, 6 days | Begins: Le Faouët (Lorient), Ends: Lorient
12 participants maximum
Inaugurate Michel’s new studio in Le Faouët with five half-day workshop demonstrations on lost traditions of early natural dye practice, and enjoy the rare opportunity to witness the filming of Natural Dye Workshop IV: Colors of the Ancient World.
In addition to the multitude of colors obtainable from plants, Michel will show what oceans and minerals can offer natural dyers to widen the palette for artistic expression. Visit the seashore with Michel to gather shells, seaweed, and other materials for use in natural dye practice. His historical anecdotes and explanations of botany and phytochemistry help dyers gain insight into the background of their craft. Participate in natural dye immersion sessionswith two local dyers, including Michel’s protégé.
Full Tour (Includes Workshops + Filming)
20 March – 01 April 2018
12 nights, 11 days | Begins: Paris, Ends: Lorient
6 participants maximum
Led by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, founder of Slow Fiber Studios and producer of the Natural Dye Workshop film series, the tour will explores the cultural regions of the Loire Valley and Brittany and focuses on some of the most precious textile works in history. Gain deepened understanding of European natural dyeing – from medieval processes to modern organic chemistry.
View complete registration information at Slow Fiber Studios →
The fourth film in the Natural Dye Workshop series is inspired by a region inhabited by humans since the Lower Paleolithic period. In his new studio in Brittany near the Atlantic Ocean, Michel Garcia continues his research and experimentation to unlock the mysteries of natural colors from the peninsula regions as well as from his travels in the world where he engages with local communities.
In addition to the multitude of colors obtainable from plants, Michel will show what oceans and minerals can offer natural dyers for their artistic expression. He shares historical anecdotes and explains botany and phytochemistry for dyers to gain insight into the background behind their craft.
Participants in the Natural Dye Workshop Tour: France 2018 will be given the opportunity to witness the filming of Natural Dye Workshop IV: Colors of the Ancient World and receive 2 free DVD copies upon the initial release.
Read more and register here →
Michel Garcia is a world-renowned botanist, chemist, naturalist, and natural dye expert. He is the founder of Couleur Garance (1998) in Lauris, France, and established Le Jardin Conservatoire de Plantes Tinctoriales (Botanical Garden of Dye Plants) in 2000 as a horticultural resource for chemists, natural dye researchers, and botanists. He has been instrumental in revitalizing the natural dye practice in France and abroad.
September 1-2, 2017
Commonly found in leaves, barks, roots, and fruits of trees, tannins are used to produce wine, leather, and ink. Dyers can use these naturally occurring compounds to produce colors from beige and grey to warm red to dark brown and black, in addition to widening the color palettes for other natural dyes. Take advantage of their unique characteristics to improve colorfastness, bond colors to fibers without using inorganic mineral mordants, and apply photosensitive effects and polymerizing qualities by gaining a deeper understanding of tannins and their diverse applications.
September 3, 2017
Potluck Social 4:30pm – 6pm
Presentation 6pm – 8pm
September 5-7, 2017
An enduring color throughout human history, indigo blue crosses cultures, from ancient body painting in the British Isles to the saturated robes of Tuareg men in the Sahara. Michel will share his knowledge of botany and chemistry to unlock the mysteries of this widespread dye. This workshop will cover several different reduction vat methods, including fructose, henna, and ferrous vats, as well as applications using fresh leaf indigo grown in Berkeley. In addition Michel will address ethnic indigo traditions including dyeing with multiple types of indigo, such as combining Indigofera tinctoria with Justicia spicigera for a deeper blue, and making Azul Maya (Maya Blue) pigment, a “pre-Columbian nanotechnology” manufactured by ancient Mesoamericans.
Slow Fiber Studios has partnered with the University of California Botanical Garden (UCBG) to extend Michel’s visit with an enriched focus on botanical science. The 34-acre garden hosts over 10,000 types of plants with a mission to develop and maintain a diverse living collection, support teaching and worldwide research in plant biology, further the conservation of plant diversity, and promote public understanding and appreciation of plants and the natural environment.
The Botany and Chemistry of Natural Dyes
Michel Garcia + Dr. Vanessa Handley + Dr. Margareta Sequin
September 8, 2017 | UC Botanical Garden
Morning coffee will be served at 9:00am. Bring a brown bag lunch and stay for a picnic and informal discussion in the Botanical Garden following the program.
Join Michel Garcia, UCBG Director of Collections and Research Dr. Vanessa Handley, and SFSU Chemistry and Biochemistry professor emeritus Dr. Margareta Séquin for a deep dive into the subject of natural dyes focusing on botanical taxonomy and phytochemistry.
Fundamentals of Sustainable Natural Dyes
August 28-31, 2017 | UC Botanical Garden
Learn the fundamentals of sustainable natural dyeing including fiber preparation, plant mordants, plant selection, using less dye for greater effect, surface design techniques, and various applications of natural dyes.
UCBG Tannin Walk
August 31, 2017 | UC Botanical Garden
Commonly found in leaves, barks, roots, and fruits of trees, tannins are used to produce wine, leather, and ink and can greatly enhance a natural dyer’s practice. Join Michel Garcia for a walk through the University of California Botanical Garden to learn about tannins and their many applications in situ.