Celebrating plant-based colour in textiles. A program of classes, exhibitions and workshops in and around Melbourne for curious and botanical minds.
Natural Dye Conference
  • Fibreshed Melbourne and Australian Fashion Council

  • 31 August & 1 September

  • 8:30am – 5:00pm

  • RMIT University, Brunswick

  • 1 day: $100/$140  2 day: $150/$200

Drawing professionals and seasoned practitioners together over two days, the conference provides an opportunity to hear from experts in farming, processing, manufacturing and researching natural dyes. The Natural Dye Conference explores the opportunities that botanical dyes present for local fibre industries.

Photo: Lolo&Beau

Organic Indigo Vat Masterclass – RMIT Students
  • Fibreshed Melbourne and RMIT University

  • 30 August

  • 10:00am – 2:00pm

  • RMIT University, Brunswick

  • $30 (RMIT students)

Learn how to make a natural indigo organic vat with Heather Thomas. Work as a team to bring each vat to life for the Festival of Natural Dyes. The class is focused on vat set up, with the ablility to test the vats with small samples to keep.

Tickets can be purchased as part of the Festival of Natural Dyes, either as a stand alone Thursday, or full conference ticket.

Places are restricted to RMIT Brunswick students until July 30. From July 31 all remaining tickets will be available to the general public.

Photo: Kalie Ilana Cassel-Feiss for Fibershed

School of the Nomad Arts
  • India Flint

  • On-going

  • Online courses at your own pace

  • Vic

  • $279/$369

The Alchemist’s Apron: A self-study course in the making of an alchemist’s apron embellished by a rich vocabulary of marks harvested from the landscape, together with trinkets and talismans from your personal collection and small found objects gathered along the way.

Consicous Clothing: Reinvent your wardrobe by making a gorgeous new collection of clothes from stuff you have lying about.

Shibori 101
  • Home-Work

  • 18 August and 15 September

  • 10:30am – 3:00pm

  • Brunswick

  • $220

Come and get addicted to all the shades of blue at our Shibori 101 !

Learn about how Indigo vats are made and how to clamp, fold and create your own beautiful patterns! Be warned this is ADDICTIVE and you will want to dye everything blue for a very long time after class!

Plant Dye Reference Library
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Plant Craft Cottage

  • 20 August – 10 September

  • 10.00am – 3:00pm Tuesday to Friday

  • Melbourne

  • FREE

The von Mueller Resource Centre holds a detailed reference section of all plant dye testing carried out at the gardens, which are available for viewing. The records include native plants, mud dyeing, lichen, fungi, seaweeds, indigo and ancient dyes on different substrates including wool, felt and raffia.

Printing and Painting with Natural Dyes
  • Handmaker’s Factory

  • 25 August

  • 10.00am – 3:00pm

  • Seddon

  • $185

Join us in this full day workshop where you will learn how to extract colour from a variety of local and everyday seasonal plants. You will then learn how to create print paste and pigments to make your own paints.

We will be working with a number of plants on the day and a selection of pre made paints, pastes and modifiers will be available to experiment with.

Introduction to Natural Dyes
  • Ilka White

  • 26 August

  • 10:00am – 3:00pm

  • Castlemaine

  • $95

This hands-on workshop introduces a selection of local colour possibilities, as well as fibre types, mordanting options and dye safety. A shibori technique will also be used to produce patterned cloth. Plants have been used to dye textiles for thousands of years and a beautiful natural palette is still available today without the need for harmful chemicals. Local weeds and kitchen off-cuts offer harmonious hues in a range of values and intensity. Come and discover some of nature’s hidden sources of colour!

Dye Group
  • Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria

  • Thursday 16 August and 20 September

  • 10.15am – 1:00pm

  • Carlton North

  • $4

If you are interested in learning all about natural dyeing, then come along to the very popular Guild Dye Group. The topic for August is Coreopsis and for September is Cochineal. Guild members can join the group regularly and borrow from the Guild’s library, which contains a large natural dye reference section.

The Colour of Eucalyptus
  • Kuwaii

  • 3 September until 16 September

  • Opening Hours

  • Melbourne CBD Store

  • FREE

What is the colour palette of a place? Artist Sally Blake explores the potential of eucalyptus to colour cloth in this exhibition. Sally’s work is the culmination of research into the colour produced from over 200 species of eucalyptus at the Australian Botanic Gardens and will be on display at Kuwaii’s city store for all to enjoy.  Sally will be presenting details of her work at the Natural Dye Conference.

Natural Dye Group
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Plant Craft COttage

  • 5 September

  • 10.30am – 2:00pm

  • Melbourne

  • FREE

The Plant Craft Cottage Dye Group meets on the 1st Wednesday of the month. The Group works with natural dyes and researches their preparation and use in the dying of wool, cotton, silk and other natural fibres. The dyes are extracted from the leaves, flowers, fruit, stems and roots of plants. Some of the dyes used have been madder, logwood, camomile, eucalyptus, thryptomeme, correa and indigo. The Group also uses the Shibori technique to pattern cloth. A reference collection has been established and is stored in the von Mueller Resource Centre.

Tasmania Eco Dyeing Experience
  • geckostrands

  • 5 September to 10 September Available for bookings

  • 10.00am – 4:00pm

  • Franklin Tasmania

  • Up to $220 per day depending on numbers

During the day you will learn fundamentals of dyeing with Eucalyptus leaves.  Experiment with colour using wool roving, identifying the colours that particular leaves create in defined conditions. Then create your own project either with a scarf blank available from the studio, or bring an item (protein fibre) to dye. During the workshop we will consider design, placement, mordants, effects of pot and core used which effects the results.

Throughout the day, discussion and questions are addressed as you document ideas and learning. 35 years of teaching means I will keep you busy all day and recognise that each person learns in their own way.  Its about being “hands on” having fun and going home with your own creation.

Natural Dyeing at Home
  • Be Kind Textiles

  • 8 September

  • 11.00am – 4:00pm

  • Thornbury

  • $100

There are many colours waiting to be unlocked from our kitchen scraps and garden, join Roz from Be Kind Textiles to learn simple techniques that you can utilise to dye your own fabric and fibres even if you don’t have much space! We will run through the minimal equipment you need, safety, mordanting, colour fastness, fibre care and dye sources. We will make our own mini natural indigo vat and also learn some Shibori resist dyeing methods to pattern your fabric! What you will get: Information sheet, your own naturally dyed paper, fabric & yarn samples. A solar dye jar to take home. Optional: Bring a small amount (100g) of new or second-hand yarn or fabric (natural fibres only) that you want to dye or re-dye, plus any old glass jar with a lid if you have any.

Katazome Rice Paste Resist
  • Handmaker’s Factory

  • 8 September

  • 10.00am – 3:00pm

  • Seddon

  • $185

In this full day workshop you will learn the Japanese art of Katazome.

In the morning you will learn how to prepare your fabrics, how to make and cook a rice paste resist then apply it to your fabric using a hand cut stencil prepared by you. After lunch your pieces will be dyed with natural dyes and the resist removed from your fabric to reveal your design.

Introduction to Natural Dyes
  • Ilka White

  • 8 September

  • 10:00am – 3:00pm

  • CERES Community Kitchen, Brunswick

  • $99/$110

This hands-on workshop introduces a selection of local colour possibilities, as well as fibre types, mordanting options and dye safety. A shibori technique will also be used to produce patterned cloth. Plants have been used to dye textiles for thousands of years and a beautiful natural palette is still available today without the need for harmful chemicals. Local weeds and kitchen off-cuts offer harmonious hues in a range of values and intensity. Come and discover some of nature’s hidden sources of colour!

AFTER THE FESTIVAL

Not all of our artisans could offer courses during the Festival so we thought we point you to those happening soon after
Setting an Organic Indigo Vat
  • Naturally Dyed

  • 3-4 November OR 17-18 November

  • 10:00am – 4:30pm all days

  • Upwey, Dandenong Ranges

  • $270

Facilitated by Jude Craig at her studio in the Dandenong Ranges, this two day course explores the magical alchemy of indigo dyeing. Learn how to set a vat (which you will take home), prepare the cloth and coax a variety of tones from it. There will also be time to create your own small project.

Handcraft your own Eco-printed Journal
  • Beautiful Wasteland

  • 10-11 November

  • 10:00am – 4:00pm

  • Melbourne

  • $285/$320

Co-facilitated by Qualified Creative Arts Therapists Jacqui Grace (MAThr) and Amanda Scott (MAThr) of, this workshop is an invitation to aesthetically reflect on the year that has passed and bring these knowings into collaboration with your intentions for the coming year.

This will be grounded in an experience of eco-printing on paper and textiles. You will then hand bind these original eco-printed works prints, creating your own bespoke journal to companion you across the seasons.

Natural Dyeing with Australian Native and Garden Plants
  • Kurrara Designs

  • 17-18 November OR 24-25 November

  • 9:30am – 4:00pm all days

  • Red Hill

  • $250

If you have ever wanted to try your hand at natural dyeing, but didn’t know where to begin, this 2 day workshop will get you started. You will be able to make a selection of sample prints and colour swatches using a variety of natural plant material, including eucalypts and popular garden plants.

You will learn how to collect plant material from sustainable sources and safely prepare that material for the dye bath, to give all-over colour. You will also create more complex and unique layered prints for fabric. We will cover how to mordant cellulose and protein fibres and fabrics and how to care for them once dyed. You will also learn some very useful tips and techniques for bundling larger fabrics and garments.

Cotton And Linen: A Natural Dye Approach
  • Beautiful Silks

  • 16, 17 &18 November

  • Full days

  • Allansford (near Warnambool)

  • $660

Linen and cotton need a different approach to obtain strong colour from natural dyes. Jenai Hooke has been working with natural dyes for a while, and has obtained some nice soft and strong colours in a great range. This workshop is limited to 12 people and focuses on cellulose fabric dyeing.

Expressions of Interest to host an event as part of the Festival of Natural Dyes are currently open.  Expressions of Interest close on 30 June 2018.

The Festival of Natural Dyes is bought to you by:

Fibreshed Melbourne acknowledge Aboriginal peoples and communities as the Traditional Custodians of the land we work on and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We recognise that their sovereignty was never ceded and the impact of structural inequality that resulted from invasion continues to this day.