Natural Dyes Workshop with Suzanne Dekel

I was thrilled when I realised there was someone local in Israel teaching classes on dyeing with natural dyes! I am not entirely sure how I stumbled upon Suzanne Dekel’s work, but likely on Instagram. I’ve been inspired by Smile and Wave’s Instagram, and her tutorials and online courses for years now. I have her weaving book, and used it to create several pieces for my home. When she started posting the DIVINE colours she achieves from Plant and Insect Based Natural Dyes, I knew that it was in my future. I now have a long term goal of sewing a quilt entirely out of hand dyed fabrics. It’s lofty, but who am I to deny the inspiration as it comes?

Our workshop was held in Suzanne’s home, where she taught us the basics of how get started with experimenting with natural dyes.

Suzanne’s passion for providing non-toxic and lower environmental impact dying alternatives is very clear throughout her courses. She is committed to using fabrics, dye stuffs, and mordants that are ethical both environmentally and with the production and sourcing. We had various conversations about who is harvesting and processing the different materials, and it’s refreshing to hear that others are considering these things.

The workshop was from 9:00 - 2:30, and really helped to familiarise the students with the processes of extracting dyes from various sources. Watching the fabrics begin to absorb the beautiful shades and seeing how pH shifts and overdying with another dye pot was making all three of us students squeal with excitement, each of us talking about how we envisioned using the final products.

No surprise, I was all about the vibrant marigold, and earthy greens. I am keen to do some experimenting with madder root to get some rusty reds in the future.

Of course, I am itching to get started with my own samples soon! I bought some of the necessary mordants (to keep the items wash and light fast), as well as a rhubarb root powder to add some more swatches to my dye journal!

Thanks Suzanne, for a wonderful, inspirational day. I so thankful I was able to learn from your experience and start my dying journey with confidence!