Natural Dyeing and Organic Indigo Vat Dyeing with Michel Garcia

The University of Washington School of Art in Collaboration with the Surface Design Association of Washington State and Earthues Natural Dye Company Seattle, WA are thrilled to present two workshops and an evening lecture with Michel Garcia!

Michel Garcia, natural dyeing expert

Michel Garcia

Workshop 1:  July 10 – 14, 2014, 9 am – 4 pm

Fundamentals of Color from Plants and Insects:  Exploring Wide Applications of Natural Dyeing and Printing on Textiles

University of Washington Seattle Campus:  Art Building Room 216

 Keen on sustainable development and ecology, Michel Garcia will teach special techniques for extracting dye from plants and insects and using these to dye and print on textiles. He will demonstrate a variety of mordants on cotton cloth, using various techniques to get a full range of shades in the same dye-bath! In this workshop, students will make different soluble extracts that can be used to dye wool, silk and cotton.

 In printing on wool and silk, the difficulties of using powdered dyestuff can be avoided altogether by using a natural extract. These extracts also present a wealth of opportunities as they can be applied directly to cloth. The class will use extracts to print directly onto wool and silk using blocks, paintbrush and screens. Michel will also present a variation that permits printing with indigo.

 Participant Experience: Dyeing experience required.  Natural dye experience preferred.

 Cost of the workshop is $575 including supply fee.


 Workshop 2: July 16 – 20, 2014, 9 am – 4 pm

Indigo: The Organic Reduction Vat

University of Washington Seattle Campus:  Art Building Room 216

Indigo has a reputation for being a difficult dye. In this class, students will discover some very simple methods to prepare natural organic indigo dye vats. These vats can be kept in the studio for a very long time and can be revitalized through readily available natural ingredients. Students will learn the mechanics of the vat and move beyond a single recipe to a thorough knowledge of the indigo process and the ability to select the appropriate vat to match the desired technique.

 Michel Garcia brings in depth experience and perspective to the vat process. His background in botany and chemistry and his intense knowledge of colorants combine with his enthusiasm for sharing this information! Students will learn about possibilities for making a natural indigo vat using henna, dates, figs, pears, or bananas as reagents. Students will be able to establish and to maintain a fast natural vat that can be used to dye any natural fiber.

Participant Experience: All dyers welcome.

Cost of the workshop is $575 including supply fee.


Lecture: Thursday, July 17, 2014, 7-8 pm, catered reception 8-9pm

Natural colors and even more

Center for Urban Horticulture

3501 NE 41st St, Seattle WA

Around the world, the rediscovery of colors from plants and insects is strongly linked with the concept of a “better life from natural substances”, of sustainable development, traceability and care for the planet.  From the point of view of Biology and “green” chemistry, it seems that the colorants from plants are bioactive components, with interesting protective effects on the body, even when they are used to dye a simple cloth. The plurality of biochemical effects of these colors is amazing. These natural substances are no longer considered as only ordinary colorants, but also as protective molecules. With the help of simple explanations, Michel Garcia will introduce the world of the bio-active dye.

A reception with wine and hors d’oeuvres will follow the lecture from 8-9 pm.

Cost of the lecture is $12.


Michel GarciaMichel Garcia short biography

Michel Garcia, a French national born in Casablanca, Morocco, has been interested in plants since childhood. He was a teenager when he first discovered a passion for natural dyeing and his study of plants and pigments over the decades has made him a leading authority on natural dyeing.  Author, collaborator, and founder of Couleur Garance and the Botanical Garden of Dye Plants in Lauris, Provence, he is a passionate advocate for the use of these dyes and for their many commercial and educational possibilities. His work includes professional consultation in West Africa, Tunisia, Mexico, United States, Canada, China, Indonesia, and Europe.  He has written 21 monographs and 3 books and is featured in three pedagogic DVDs.

Since founding his first company in 1988, Michel has continued in his in depth study of the biology and chemistry of plants. His generosity in founding the Botanical Dye Garden as a resource center for anyone interested in sharing in the knowledge of Natural Dyes extends to teaching philosophy.

He is an innovative dyer and hands-on teacher whose enthusiasm is infectious and knowledge extensive. He is interested in using simple methods to present the complex world of Natural Dyes to a wide public.

Registration for Workshop and Lecture


Registration for the workshops and the lecture will open at 9AM PDT on March 15th.  Acceptance into the workshops will be based on date of payment.  Class size for each workshop is limited to 15 each.  Participants can register for one workshop.    Please fill out registration form here (link will work starting at 9 am PDT on March 15):

 and follow the link for Pay Pal payment.  Registration is NOT complete until both the registration form has been filled out and payment has been received through Pay Pal.


Registration for the lecture and payment on Pay Pal can be found at (link will work starting at 9 am PST on March 15)

Lecture is limited to 200 people.  Registration is NOT complete until both the registration form has been filled out and payment has been received through Pay Pal.


Please email Layne Goldsmith

Presented by: University of Washington School of Art, Surface Design Association of Washington State, and Earthues Natural Dye Company.

SDA Pres Jane Dunnewold meets WA SDA

SDA President Jane Dunnewold speaks to WA SDA

SDA President Jane Dunnewold speaks to WA SDA

 A wonderful treat for Washington state SDA members, Jane’s talk on October 12 focused on the psychology of being an artist.   Here are some points that this artist pulled out from her speech:

We should always be in a cycle that includes studying, analyzing, thinking, making, and critiquing our art.  We can feel as if we haven’t done enough… learn to be satisfied with the work you’re doing.  Look to find what’s your best path and turn inward to find it.  Connect with the mystical-the mysterious part of life we can’t understand.

Jane’s definition of “Alignment”:  when what you love to do is what you’re good at.  There is a learning curve to doing something really well- you need to practice.  Often, you start out wanting to play at something.  If you play around long enough, you start to understand it a bit and want to get good at it.  You need to keep at it to get good.  Persistence can be undermined in many ways.  You might feel you aren’t talented at something.  You shouldn’t look at comparing yourself… accept what you’ve got and go with it.  We’re all challenged with the difficulties of having a busy, crazy life.  Building time into your schedule for your art is important.

WA SDA representative Barbara Matthews introduces Jane Dunnewold

WA SDA representative Barbara Matthews introduces Jane Dunnewold

A huge negative influence on our artwork which we all feel is what Jane calls “the committee.”  These are the voices you hear or faces you see in your mind whom you want to please or for whom you want to have your artwork be good enough.  You may hear a specific voice saying “What are you going to do with that?”  Or you might compare your work with the work of an admired artist and feel you come up short.  It’s important for you to think about who you have on your committee… then fire them!  Learn to Say YES to your distinctive style and choices you make for your art.

We also need to develop our “Creative Stamina.”  Jane suggests we develop a program of creative strength training… like cross training in the gym… go back and forth between different activities that support your development as an artist.  These may include:

  • Cultivating looking- take a photo each day and post them online- engage seeing-closer,richer, in a more detailed way
  • Writing- even if not a writer it helps us organize and keep track; can do a Free Association- write a term at the top of a page and free associate for 2 minutes- can lead to design inspiration and ideas; write descriptions to help see more thoroughly and cultivate curiosity
  • Visiting museums & galleries
  • Reading about other artists
WA SDA members

WA SDA members

Work on being proud of every aspect of what you do.  The detail, materials you choose, and the finishing work- all of the craft needs to support the message of the piece.  You should practice “intentional making”, limit variables and simplify.

Each of us has a life that has elements that are fascinating… bring that out in your work!  Craft a statement about your work and practice saying it aloud so you can comfortably talk about your work.

WA SDA members

WA SDA members

Finally, don’t be afraid to make mistakes… it’s how we learn and grow.  Jane joked, “I’ve made so many mistakes and have been so good at it, that I’m thinking of making some more.”

Thanks so much to Jane and to all our members and guests who attended.  Coming soon- reports from our small group breakout sessions!

Okan Arts- Japanese Fabrics & a Whole Lot More


Seattle’s SDA group had the pleasure of having Patricia Belyea speak to them recently.  Patricia is both the owner of Okan Arts and the powerhouse that created “Stashfest”- a fundraiser for the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum.  Her passionate voice in the Northwest quilting community encourages and cajoles others to try using unusual fabrics in their artwork, as well as contributing to and building the Northwest as a major quilting center.

Okan Arts imports vintage Japanese Yukata Cottons, as well as being Patricia’s business for selling her artisan quilts, being a speaker and teacher, and leading retreats.  There are a few places still available in the 2013 Okan Arts Quilt Retreat with Joe Cunningham and Patricia Belyea.  In their retreat, students mater techniques for creating simple yet innovative quilts, learning directly through cutting and sewing.  Held on Hood Canal (2 hours from SeaTac airport) the 5 night workshop includes instruction, programs, ALL meals & snacks, and group accommodations.  The dates are Sunday Nov 10- Fri Nov 15, 2013.  Patricia and Joe are generously contributing a portion of the proceeds from this retreat to support the  La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum.  For more information or to register go to the Okan Arts website at:


Patricia also leads some fun classes out of her Ballard-based Okan Arts classroom, including “Counterintuitive Piecing”, “Doodle Piecing”, and “Freemotion Quilting”.  You can check out more about these classes at:

Looking to spice up your fabric stash?  Contact Patricia to come see and buy some of the lovely hand-dyed yukata cotton fabrics from Japan.  She has more than 450 bolts available!

What Direction Would You Like To Take Your Art?

–Have you thought about mentoring or teaching a class or workshop?

–Would you want to build a body of work, prepare for a sale, or have a solo exhibition?

–Do you want to branch into a new material, do installation art, or make your art bigger?

–Do you want to get better at a technique or just have fun?

JanePlease join us October 12th for an SDA meeting open to everyone in WA State featuring Jane Dunnewold, SDA President.

Meet like-minded artists to share ideas about Jane’s presentation on Making and Meaning, as you think about your future, and about what could further your art.

See blog post on September 17th for more details by clicking HERE.

Jason Pollen, President Emeritus of SDA, Is Coming To Vancouver, BC

Consider taking a road trip to Vancouver to hear Jason Pollen, internationally recognized fiber artist and President Emeritus of SDA speak on June 22.  It will be an inspiring evening.  Thank you SDA- BC for the invitation!

JASON POLLEN: 100 Tangos in Canvas, Silk, Pigment and Dye

When:  Friday, June 22, 2012

Where:  Festival House, 1398 Cartwright St, Granville Island, Vancouver (next to Crafthouse Gallery)

Time: 7:00pm Refreshments; 7:30pm Jason’s talk

Tickets: $5 at the door

For more information: Email  Jennifer Love  or Ros Aylmer  (please email Jennifer if you plan to attend so we can estimate numbers)

For more about Jason Pollen, go to his website by clicking HERE

This event has been sponsored by members of the BC Chapter of the SDA.