Painting with Natural Dyes

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Painting with Natural Dyes


Painting with Natural Dyes

co-taught by Liz Spencer “The Dogwood Dyer" and Ivana Oro

Sunday, June 24th


$90 + $15 Materials

Using only nature's bounty you will gain knowledge and experiment with the time honored art of natural dyeing with Liz Spencer The Dogwood Dyer and visiting lingerie designer Ivana of Savia de Oro.

Using locally foraged plants, organic homegrown dyestuff, atural extracts and some extra special local cochineal from the property at Wild Mesa, you will gain knowledge and experiment with the direct application of natural paint onto cloth. The dogwood dyer will demonstrate the proper methods for achieving wash and light fast results with natural dyes and share her tips and secrets for advanced techniques using natural thickeners and resists, outlining the whole process from plant to painted composition.

Visiting Spanish artist and maker Ivana Oro will be educating on the importance of sustainable cochineal and the traditional culture around growing this very special color rich insect native to her home in the Canary Island (we can also find cochineal on the Wild Mesa property).

Most everyone has had to donate or downcycle garments or linens due o everyday wear, spills, accidents and laundry mishaps. Following the dye techniques from this class, you can mask unsightly stains using the coloring power of plants minerals and insect. No prior knowledge on textiles or dyes is required. Participants will leave with their own original painting compositions on various natural material, as well as informational handouts outlining natural dye painting techniques and recipes to recreate this beautiful art at home.


Photo by Erin Scabuzzo of HelloPinecone

Liz Spencer is owner and operator of The Dogwood Dyer, an all-natural dyeing service that uses locally grown and foraged plants as well as ethically sourced dyestuffs to help create sustainable accessories, garments, and home goods. Her process involves minimal water consumption, with 80 percent of the refuse water recycled back into her gardens. An advocate for the education of ethically conscious design, she teaches sustainability, fashion, and natural dyeing at FIT and Parsons The New School for Design, and she spent a year as a venture fellow at the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator. She holds a BA from Linfield College, in Oregon, and an MA in sustainable fashion from the London College of Fashion. She teaches workshops independently in southern California and the New York City area. Follow her colorful story on Instagram where she posts about upcoming workshops and events: @thedogwooddyer  



Ivana Oro is a sustainable fashion designer who specializes in textile design and natural dyeing. She combines her three passions of art, design and textile crafts to create a contemporary and very personal brand, Savia de Oro, a naturally dyed lingerie brand. She will reveal her new SS19 Collection at The International Salon de la Lingerie in Paris on July.

A 2013 trip to Gambia inspired her to start training in design, after spending time with women dyeing meters and meters of cotton fabrics with colorful and cheerful handmade prints. Her grandmother was a dressmaker and craftswoman, so growing up with fabrics and sewing machines also greatly influenced my decision to study fashion. Her first contact with natural dyeing was at the hands of the Canarian artisan Nilia Bañares, mother of the Spanish jewellery designerHelena Rohner. Helena showed her how to extract the color contained in the plants and the use of Canarian cochineal applied to textiles. She then trained with Michel Garcia, a renowned chemist, botanist and dyer in France, to learn ancient techniques to extract color directly from plants and apply color and prints to textiles.