Applications are now open for the 2022 Natural Dyeing Course at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, with renowned expert Jenny Dean, supported by our very own Ross Belton. This is the fourth time this incredibly popular course has run, and this year it will consist of 6 ‘in person’ Sundays at the Museum and 6 online learning sessions via Zoom (or a similar program). There will also be an opportunity for regular personal contact and discussion with Jenny, who will answer queries and give advice as required.
‘The aim of this comprehensive course is to teach participants how to prepare and use dyes from natural materials to dye both animal and vegetable fibres. You will learn how to follow best practices to produce a full spectrum of consistent, reliable colours and how to test dyed samples for light and wash-fastness. We will cover a wide range of mordanting and dyeing techniques and the use of colour modifiers; the dyes used will include all the classic traditional dyes, such as madder, weld, cochineal and indigo. Participants will learn how to grow, harvest, prepare and use plants for dyeing, using the museum’s dye garden as a resource.’ Jenny Dean
As well as the Natural Dyeing fundamentals, the course gives participants the opportunity to learn about contact dyeing and surface dyeing techniques from Ross Belton, and printmaking using natural dyes with printmaker Jacqui Symons. The course will run from the 10th April through to the 25th September and these are only 8 places available, to ensure that the course is COVID secure.
This will be a hands-on course and the emphasis throughout will be on reliable, safe, environmentally friendly methods. All materials required for the taught components of the course will be provided, including some for personal experiments between sessions. There is one subsidised place available for people under 30 years old and setting up their own practice or on low income or benefits. The application form is available to download here and the closing date for applications is Sunday 6th of March.
Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft houses a collection consisting of the work of artists and craftspeople who were based in the village, including calligrapher Edward Johnston (responsible for the typeface used by the London underground), artist and designer Eric Gill, painter David Jones, Printer Hilary Peplerand weaver and natural dyer Ethel Mairet. Johnson moved to the village in 1912, and was followed by Gill in 1921 who set up the The Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic with Hilary Pepler as the other founding member. It was an attempt to create a communal catholic community based on the idea of the medieval guild, faith work and domestic life.
Text and Images © Jonathan Dredge, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft and Jenny Dean