Mordant Printing and Painting with Natural Dyes (P21)

Instructor: Berkley Heath

In this class, you'll create thickened mordant pastes to paint and print designs on cotton cloth. Inspired by traditional surface design techniques, we will work with three dye vats (madder, weld, and sumac) to create a wide range of shades and patterns on cloth. Mordants are substances used in combination with natural dyes to create lasting colors on cloth. They can shift the tone and saturation of natural dyes such that a wide range of colors can be created in a single dye vat, and even on a single piece of cloth! This class will cover fabric preparation, making a printing surface, natural dye chemistry and history, as well as post dyeing fabric care. You'll create a color reference chart on cloth to use in future dyeing endeavors, as well as your own uniquely patterned pieces. This class meets in-person at AVA. Weather dependent, the class will meet under the tent over our new outdoor patio classroom. There is a $25 materials fee.


Berkley Heath is a lifelong artist fascinated by the sources of the materials in our daily lives. Her work in organic agriculture and herbalism led her to discover natural dyeing, and she began studying traditional surface design techniques to incorporate her printmaking practice into her love of natural colors. Natural dyeing is an incredible confluence of many of her interests, from plant biology and organic chemistry, to design and ethnobotany, and she feels passionate about sharing this craft with others. She believes that physical interaction with the landscape facilitates a sense of place, well-being, and stewardship of our natural world.