What magic does the dyer use to coax colour from nature? Throughout the world this knowledge was guarded carefully, and learning the art often involved elaborate ceremonies and traditions. To this day, natural dyeing retains the same air of mystery and exotic intrigue that has compelled artists and craftspeople for centuries.
Charllotte Kwon’s passionate study of natural dyeing techniques has led her to visit and work with cultures around the world. In this workshop she shares her vast knowledge of natural dye history and use. In addition Charllotte offers insight into her own in-studio processes and demonstrates how to get the most from a range of dyes and fabrics. Participants will obtain a good technical understanding of the mordanting processes and the varied uses of such dyes as indigo, cochineal, madder, weld, and many others. Gorgeous Turkey reds, indigo blues, and Indian yellows are just a few of the colours achieved as participants work on cotton, silks, wools, and linen.
The full spectrum of more than 80 rich colours dyed in class will form a source book for each student. These books are a great inspiration and reference for years to come. A variety of shibori techniques will be used and then dyed with natural indigo. Students will learn how to print, and use other direct application methods with natural dyes. Students will also complete several natural dye projects that combine their learned techniques.
This is a practical workshop with many vats and some lifting. As we like to put it: if you can get your suitcase on an international flight—you should be fine.
This workshop is suitable for experienced dyers or enthusiastic beginners.
Charllotte Kwon is the owner of Maiwa Handprints Ltd. and the director of the Maiwa Foundation. Through Maiwa, Charllotte also runs a textile archive and research library located on Granville Island in Vancouver, Canada. Under her direction Maiwa has produced four documentary films and a number of print publications. She also guides Maiwa’s substantial web presence.
Charllotte travels extensively each year to research handcraft and to supplement her natural-dye research. Always looking to extend natural dye use, she also teaches dyeing workshops with artisans around the world and has planned a series of natural dye master classes to bring exceptional practicing artisans together. In 2014 she was awarded an Honourary Doctorate of Letters from the University of the Fraser Valley for her work in promoting the continuation of traditional textile techniques and cultures.
All of my work is inspired by the beauty of textiles and a profound interest in the lives of those who make them. Over the years this inspiration has been central to my work with artisans who still work with traditional techniques and methods. Rather than creating individual artworks, my approach has been to articulate the various narratives of craft through documentary film, gallery and museum exhibitions, symposia, multimedia lectures and presentations, print publications, and retail advocacy.