SSL Certificate

Catharine Ellis and Debra Frasier
June 2014
Natural Dyes, Natural Words: Dyeing Colors and Inventing Color Language

Course Description
Learn to dye with plants that grow near and far, then use those colors as the doorway to sharpening your natural written language. Using natural dyes on both protein and cellulose fibers we will take an objective, science-based approach to mordanting while carefully documenting our experiments in applications for both printing and immersion dyeing. Simultaneously, daily writing experiments will focus our efforts to grow a natural writing voice through a rigorous journal process in the company of our natural dye pots. All students will leave with a self-created journal/textbook to use in continuing their own writing and dyeing studies.

This writing and dyeing workshop is taught collaboratively by two gifted artist/teachers, Catharine Ellis and Debra Frasier. Prior incarnations include a session at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and Penland School of Crafts. Shakerag will offer this innovative, yet rarely taught class, for 2014, only.

Suitable for the experienced dyer/writer or the brave beginner.

Catharine Ellis:
Catharine Ellis is a weaver, dyer, teacher, and author of Woven Shibori. Her personal work integrates weaving and dyeing and she has spent recent years immersed in the art, the science, and the gardening of natural dyes. Her textiles have been exhibited throughout the world and she teaches internationally. Website:
Debra Frasier:
Debra Frasier is the award-winning author and illustrator of such children’s classics as On the Day You Were Born, Miss Alaineus, A Vocabulary Disaster, and most recently, SPIKE, Ugliest Dog in the Universe. Originally trained in textiles, Debra’s illustrations often use cloth techniques. In addition, Debra speaks to children, teachers, and artists about creative process across the USA. Her acclaimed website offers free materials for families and communities to host her unique “Book Events.” Website:

Artist's Statements
Catharine Ellis: My work begins with thread, dye, and an idea. It is inspired by the structures inherent in woven cloth and the patterns and textures of the landscape. Layers of natural dyes and mordants, imbedded into the cloth, realize the vision.
Debra Frasier: Inside the thirty-two pages of the classic children’s picture book I weave words and pictures into a story that attempts to answer a question or longing we carry whether we are three years old, or one-hundred-and-three years old. Can the human heart be strengthened by a slim story? We have to lift the cover together to find out. THAT is the magic space I want to work with, where sometimes—yes—sometimes, hearts grow stronger as we lean in and turn the page...

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