2023 - Natural Dyeing: A Heritage of Colour

Short course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000
Sold out

Discover the beauty of nature’s palette in this five-day natural dyeing textiles course.

This fabric course uncovers the history of natural dyeing in the V&A’s collections, giving you behind-the-scenes gallery tours with V&A textile curators and exclusive object-handling sessions – bringing the history of natural dyeing to life through hands-on learning experiences.

Each day you’ll be guided through a practical workshop led by natural dye experts ModernEccentrics. The course will cover all the classical traditional dyes: madder, weld, cochineal and indigo as well as the use of modifiers to extend your palette and to shift tone. You will learn how to prepare fibres for dyeing and develop your own sample book of fabrics and threads.

This course is now sold out, please email courses@vam.ac.uk if you wish to be added to the waiting list for this course or take a moment to sign up to our V&A Academy newsletter and you will receive updates about similar courses in future. Please sign up via the link you'll find on the right side.

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Portrait of Course facilitators  ModernEccentrics

Course facilitators

ModernEccentrics is a creative collaboration between artists Jonathan Dredge and Ross Belton. Their practice is based around nature in an urban environment, utilising and repurposing found, recycled and redundant materials.

V&A courses have exceeded my expectations. I learnt new techniques and processes which I was hoping to obtain throughout the course. Previous student

Course overview

Day One: On day one you'll be given a short history of natural dyeing, begin to identify the dye groups, prepare, scour and mordant fibres, and dye and modify one un-mordanted sample set with buddleia.

Day Two: On day two you will dye and modify three un-mordanted sample set using rhubarb root, buckthorn bark, pomegranate rind & tannins to create a range of yellow's. You will then dye and modify two un-mordanted sets using walnut hulls, oak galls, tannin/iron complex to create greys and black.

Day Three: On day three you will continue with natural dye sampling, you will use three mordanted sample sets sappanwood, madder, cochineal to create red's and then modify these colours using weld and logwood to expand the palette.

Day Four: On day four you will get to grips with indigo dyeing using the 1,2,3 vat method. You will also be given a private gallery tour with V&A curator Susan North looking at pre-1800 fashion & textiles in the collection.

Day Five: On day five you will learn contact printing & contact dyeing lake pigments. You will also have a talk on India’s natural dyes and their impact on global fashion with V&A curator Avalon Fotheringham.


By the end of this one week intensive course, you will be able to:

Understand the principles of dyeing with natural colour, understand fibre properties, how to mordant and use modifiers to shift tone, as well develop your own colour sample book.

Enrol now

Short course: 2023 - Natural Dyeing: A Heritage of Colour

2 October 2023 - 6 October 2023


Sold out

Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 10.00 - 13.00, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)

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Header image: ModernEccentrics