Shades of Blue


Instructor: Patricia Lehnhardt

The world of plants is amazing. From green leaves to blue fabric, it is almost magical.

In this two-day class, Patricia Lehnhardt will guide you through how to grow the plants in your own garden, process the leaves into a dry pigment to use later, and do fresh leaf dyeing on wool yarn and silk fabric. Lehnhardt will guide participants in using powdered indigo from India to make a ferrous vat to dye cotton and linen fabrics, paper, and learn more ways to use the pigment, such as ink and watercolor paint.

Katazome, shibori, stencils, rubber and wood-block stamps, and a paint brush will be utilized to create surface designs on fabric, using both resists and directly applied pigment.

Indigo has been grown all over the world. Each area has its own varieties of plants and methods of dyeing with it. Because chemical dyes are easier and cheaper for commercial purposes, these methods – an almost forgotten art - have fallen into the hands of the artisan.

Participants will go home with many small samples created in class and the knowledge that the shades of blue are just one of nature’s miracles of color.

Lehnhardt started using natural dyes on her hand-spun wool yarn more than forty years ago, selling it in her shop, The Great Galena Peddlery. When customers returned months later, wanting an exact match for what they had purchased earlier, which was next to impossible, she switched to commercial acid dyes. After retirement in 2015, she returned to using natural dyes, delving into surface design of fabrics using only natural dyes that she grows in her garden, forages in nearby ditches, or purchases from supply houses. She has learned the dye processes through her own library, on-line classes, and lots of experimenting. It is a never-ending learning experience.

Things to Bring:

  • Wear old clothes
  • Bring an apron or smock
  • Rubber dishwashing gloves (long and thick)
  • X-acto knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Fine tip Sharpie marker
  • Dust mask
  • Watercolor brush
  • Dip pen
  • Scissors
Materials Kit ($40 paid to instructor in class)

  • (8) 12-inch squares of scoured cotton fabric
  • (4) 12-inch squares of scoured linen fabric
  • (4) 12-inch squares of Habotai silk fabric
  • (2) 25-yard skeins scoured wool yarn
  • Watercolor paper
  • Ink bottle
  • Paint pan
  • Chip brushes
  • Stencil paper
  • Notebook
  • Instruction/recipe booklet
  • All in-class indigo plants and powders, additives, resists, and supplies

Sept 8-9, 2023, from 9:00 am-4:00 pm

  • $220 workshop fee, plus $40 materials kit
  • Workshop fee includes lunch on Saturday.
  • Participants need to bring a sack lunch on Friday.
  • Minimum number of students: 6
  • Maximum number of students: 10
Register now by completing these three steps:
  • Fill out Shades of Blue Registration Form.
  • Email completed registration form to the .
  • Pay registration fee using PayPal button.

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