Regional Dye Palette
Every region has its own palette of mushroom and lichen dyes. This class takes an in-depth look at using local, wild fungi as sustainable, safe dye sources. Starting with 10-12 different species, with the addition of safe mordants and pH modifiers, we end up with about 20 colors in all.
All of the dyes used are ethically harvested, dried, and weighed (using some fresh material if available). Students learn about mushroom safety, identification basics, habitats and ethical harvest. Participants receive a customized color guide to the best regional dye mushrooms and lichens and learn where to go for help with identification.
Working with Fiber
We will be working with wool and silk fiber. Yarn for class is pre-mordanted to allow ample time to focus on dyes, however we will discuss the steps for preparing the fibers for the dye bath. This includes scouring, mordanting, and techniques to avoid felting wool.
Participants will be guided through the steps to create an intricate arashi shibori inspired design. Each participant receives a blank scarf for practice.
Students will take home a detailed recipe card showcasing the rainbow of samples dyed in class. The recipe card lists both the scientific and common names of the fungi and lichens used to make the dye, it also includes the ratios of fungus to fiber, any mordants used, and pH modifications required to achieve the colors. Participants receive a detailed procedural handout, a customized guide to local dye fungi and a beautiful hand dyed scarf. This workshop covers all aspects of getting started with mushroom and lichen dyes and leaves the student with the tools to carry on with their own exploration.
Alissa Allen is an amateur mycologist who specializes in presenting regional mushroom and lichen dye palettes to communities all over the country. Alissa has been sharing her passion for mushroom and lichen dyes and collaborating with other dyers for over 12 years. She has written articles for mycopigments.com, the Fibershed blog and Fungi magazine, and created two active discussion groups: Mushroom and Lichen Dyers United and the Mushroom Dyers Trading Post. She is dedicated to furthering the art and science of mushroom and lichen dyeing through community engagement, open discussion, and friendly encouragement. To read more about Alissa’s work, visit her website.
What to bring:
- Something to share for the potluck lunch
- Personal beverages and snacks
- Layered clothing for variations in weather
- Notebook and camera if desired
West County Fiber Arts is the studio of felt artist Heidi Harris, on a beautiful 1-acre property in rural Sonoma County, California. Classes will take place both indoors and in the garden.
If you are coming from out of town, overnight accommodations are plentiful in the vicinity — from nearby hotels to camping at the Russian River. See our Food & Lodging page for suggestions.