Madison, Connecticut July 14-16th, 2023 Sponsored by Madison Wool: Mushroom and Lichen Dyes of the Northeast
Get a jump-start on the mushroom season and learn about dyeing before mushrooms are fruiting everywhere. This three-day workshop will explore the brilliant range of colorful dyes found in Northeastern wild mushrooms and lichens. Using foraged fungi and the latest extraction techniques, we will dye over 20 samples resulting in an extended rainbow of colors!
On day one, we will take a slow walk through a nearby woodland to observe mushrooms and lichens in their natural habitats while getting a deeper, hands-on understanding of their ecological niche. Using the tools in our foraging kits, we’ll examine and describe fungal features, perform chemical spot tests on lichens, and iNaturalist to document our finds. We’ll discuss the difference between collecting specimens for identification, dyeing, and dye testing. After our walk, we’ll return to the studio to make spore prints and test our mushrooms and lichens for color.
On day two, we will work with a selection of local dye fungi to extract and reveal the rainbow of color available within the region. We’ll review the precise techniques required to obtain optimal results from each dye group.
Day three is dedicated to pairing your favorite fiber with fungi and observing the dyes on others’ fibers. Bring multiple small bundles of your favorite wool or silk to work with (yarn, felt, fabric, or fluff). Aim for bundles weighing 1 oz or less to get maximum color representation. Secure your fiber if loose, wash and label it with your name and the dry weight for easy calculation—no need to mordant as we will mordant in class. We will aim to dye at least six oz per person, but bring as many smaller selections as you’d like; you may be able to dye more.
By the end of the workshop, you’ll be able to carry on with your own dye experimentation at home confidently. You’ll have experience looking for target species, working with mordants and pH modifiers, making larger dye vats of commonly found species, and utilizing exhaust baths to achieve even more color variation. You’ll take home a compact guidebook that goes through all the steps for working with the dyes, which includes a color guide to the best local dye species. You’ll have samples and the recipes used in class and you’ll have enough mushroom-dyed fiber for a small project. Bring large and small containers if you are interested in taking home leftover dye.