Description: Let us start the weekend going over best practices when approaching natural colorants by learning how to prepare our cellulose and protein fibers for optimal uptake of dyes via scouring, tannin, and immersion mordanting. Then we will prepare our dyes for a colorful palette from tried and true natural material ethically sourced worldwide. For solid replicable results, we will document our experiments of hue variations on the percentage of dyestuff to WOF (weight of fabric), adding PH modifiers, color mixing, color layering, and adding natural resists. As a reference tool for future projects, you will create and take home a lovely dye journal full of silk and cotton dye swatches, an array of 6x6 project bundle samples and a set of 4 cotton napkins. We will permanently fix the colors to finish our pieces by chalking and steaming the cloth.


  • Day 1: create a color palette of rich reds, browns, pinks, oranges, peaches, golds, and wines on silk and cotton.
  • Day 2: create and expand your color palette with purples, blues, grays, and greens on silk and cotton.

Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Please Note: Registration willl close Monday, March 4 at midnight.

Supply fee includes:  

  • Dye journal with recipes for scouring, mordanting, and immersion dyeing with room to document results.
  • A total of 22 natural dyes, mordants, and tannin samples (both days)
  • Labeled color swatches of silk and cotton for dye journal.
  • A set of 4 Cotton napkins
  • hand-carved stamps

Students should bring: 

  • Small jars for dye samples
  • Writing utensils
  • Apron
  • Something to drink and a healthy snack and lunch

About the Artist: Puakea Forester was born in Kahuku, O‘ahu to a woodworker, and an arts and religions professor at BYU-Hawaii. Puakea attended Ka‘a‘awa Elementary School where her kumu hula (teacher) Aunty Kawai Aona-Ueoka, instilled in her a love for hula, and a kuleana (responsibility) in making the kapa.

“There is profound mana held in the memories of our childhood. One such memory was of being a young girl in the mid 80ʻs, watching my kumu singing with the rustling leaves of her wauke as she plucked the side shoots to make for good clean kapa, caressing them, as you would tending to your loved ones.” 

When a child bares witness to those in their community tending reciprocal, loving relations between themselves and ʻāina, they see where they too have a familial place amongst the natural world - thereby reducing the impact of colonizing extractive mentalities - resulting in a whole and meaningful sense of self to continue the work of healing and mending broken relationships with nature for our kūpuna (ancestors) & our mo’opuna (grandchildren). Puakea firmly grounds her life work centered upon these principles. With almost 25 years of teaching ages 2-101, Puakea brings with her a bold and joyful background in theater for social change, global & indigenous women's studies, ethnobotany, and fiber arts.

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