Life after Work

Natural Dye Workshop Day 1

Day 1 results

Mr. Wise and I drove up to the Blue River Retreat (near Alpine, AZ) yesterday afternoon. We are staying in one of three Windstream travel trailers so that I can attend a three-day natural dye workshop held by Jane (a.k.a. Janie) Hoffman, an expert tapestry weaver and dye master, with five other women. Two of them I already knew – Sally and Susan from Spirited Hands Studio in Tucson. They were the instructors of the felting workshop my mother and I attended earlier this yearn at the Fibers Through Time conference, also in Tucson. I also met Sandy who was staying in the cabin at the retreat. She had been helping Jane prepare for the workshop washing and premordanting yarns as well as prepping dye materials.

On the first day the group split up in three teams and started four dye baths: asparagus fern, madder root with a “shot” of cochineal and a “dash” of washing soda, as well as mistletoe and broom snakeweed. We dyed a total of 1 pound or 4 skeins per dye bath (two types of natural, bleached, grey) plus some sample silk hankies. 8 of these skeins we considered “done” today, the rest will move on to post-mordant baths tomorrow. 

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