Orchil Dyes from Lichens

Purple from green stuff that grows on trees? Yes! Certain lichens can produce shades of purple. In this class you will learn how to identify those lichens, how to sustainably harvest them, and how to prepare a vat to make a purple dye. We will dye wool, alpaca, and silk in class, then prepare a jar of dye for you to take home and develop. Instructor will provide the dye bath for the class dye, and lichens for your jar to take home, ammonia, and distilled water. Students please bring a clean glass jar with lid (pint size or larger is good). You may also bring SMALL samples of fiber or fabric to throw into the dye pot. They do not need to be mordanted, but must be clean and dye ready, meaning washed free of soil, oils, or other substances that might hinder the take-up of dye. Bring latex or rubber gloves, and wear an apron or old clothes. I do not expect this to be a messy process, but be prepared to work with dye. Bring a plastic bag in order to carry home wet materials.


Sue Gazell