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Natural Dyes and Ikat


  • Maiwa East 1310 Odlum Drive Vancouver, BC, V5L 3M3 Canada (map)

With Sara Goodman & Mary Zicafoose

$795 [Includes $100 lab fee] Class limit 12. Sept 6-10 (Wed-Sun) 10am-4pm.

Adding colour to threads before weaving can be done in a number of ways. When the threads are resist-dyed it is called ikat, and when the colour is added by direct application, it is call a painted warp (or weft).

In this workshop students will work with both techniques. Ikat tapestry weaver Mary Zicafoose of Nebraska will share techniques from her lifelong ikat studio practice, and natural dyer Sara Goodmanof New England will teach warp painting with natural dyes.

Ikat: Students will learn the sequential steps to plan, measure, stretch, wrap, dye, unwrap, and weave wool for weft ikat weaving. They will also learn how to establish and maintain a natural fermentation vat (henna, fructose) and an iron vat (ferrous sulfate). Indigo-dyeing coupled with the intricate ikat process yields dramatic and very beautiful results in cloth. Our ikat-wrapping, indigo-dyeing sessions and weaving applications will encourage and inspire many creative possibilities.

Painted warps and dyed wefts: The complete procedures for warp-painting with natural dyes will be taught including fibre and dye preparation, colour combinations, overdyeing with indigo, and steam-finishing. Students will learn the processes of scouring and mordanting for successful natural dyeing. Stock solutions will be made from concentrated natural dye extracts that can be combined and thickened for warp-painting.  The class will also dye either silk or wool wefts in immersion baths using alum, iron, and Symplocos as mordants.

A loom is required for this workshop (tabletop is preferred). Students should be familiar with their loom and know basic weaving techniques.

Sara and Mary will also give a lecture.

Supply List PDF


Sara Goodman is a textile artist with a lifelong interest in ikat, shibori, and resist dyeing techniques. She has travelled widely to study artisans and their textiles in such places as Guatemala, Mexico, Japan, Indonesia, Nepal, India, and China. In October 2015 Sara was a member of the faculty for SDA’s (Surface Design Association) conference on natural dyes. Her work has been featured in Handwoven, Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot, and Upper Valley Life Magazine as well as the Surface Design Journal. Her wearables have been in the fashion shows at Convergence, the Handweavers Guild of America conference, and at the Surface Design Association conference.In addition to her creative work, Sara is involved in the promotion of Symplocos (a plant-based mordant) through the Bebali Foundation and is a former director of Goodweave (dedicated to eliminating child labour in the carpet industry).

Mary Zicafoose is a master at weft ikat, a complex design dye/weave process, that has stimulated new directions in the field of contemporary tapestry. Her work has been represented in the International Triennial of Tapestry, Lodz, Poland; Museo de Textil, Oaxaca, Mexico; China National Silk Museum, Hangzhou; and the collections of more than a dozen United States embassies abroad. Her education includes a BFA from St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana, with graduate studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Nebraska. A 2016 USA Artist Fellowship nominee, Mary is Co-Director Emeritus of the American Tapestry Alliance and board chair of the Omaha Union for Contemporary Art. Extensive exhibition, teaching, and lecture engagements include the de Young Museum, San Francisco; Penland School of Craft, Penland, NC; Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN; and universities, conferences, and textile programs worldwide. www.maryzicafoose.com

See the Mary Zicafoose feature in Fiber Art Now