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Natural Dyes for Textiles

Natural Dyes for Textiles

Chelsea College of Arts
Taught by
Kavita Kumari


Discover how to print with natural dyestuffs; this ancient craft is being re-vitalised for use in contemporary textiles. Through demonstrations and individual tuition you will learn about mordants, and understand how to achieve beautiful luminous colours using natural dyes.

Visual examples of natural dye prints and colours will be available to study, and there will be hand-outs of the recipes, and supplier’s details. There will be plenty of opportunities to experiment and print onto different fabrics, using low-tech printing methods such as cut-paper stencils and mono-print. You will be encouraged to create your own designs, and mix colours, to make this a very personal project. Environmental and sustainable issues will also be discussed to allow comparisons to be made with the synthetic print industry. Information will also be provided as to how these techniques can be replicated at home, or in a small print workshop.

Course Outcomes
You will finish the course with a small collection of fabrics, printed with your own design, using natural dyes. You will understand how to screen-print with natural dyes in a professional, safe, and environmentally conscious way. You will learn how to produce high quality prints, in beautiful colours, onto a range of natural fabrics. You will also understand how the techniques taught, can be continued and practiced after the course has finished.

Who Should Attend
The course is suitable for: Textile print designers who are interested in learning a new skill. Screen printers who would like the experience of printing with alternative dyes mediums. Natural dyers who want to understand how to translate their work into screen printing. Environmentally conscious artists who want to print colour and pattern. The course is structured so that it is suitable for beginners through to professionals. It could lead to a career change in the arts, setting up of a small natural print/dye studio, or further studies and courses in sustainable textile design.

Course Level

Tutor Description

Kavita Kumari, began her career as a freelance Print Designer in Fashion & Interiors, selling at Indigo, Premiere Vision and in New York to Calvin Klein after graduating from Central Saint Martins with a BA Honours in Textile Design: Print.  Kavita has since held several independent and collaborative exhibitions combining her skills as a Painter and Textile Designer, which led to commissions for Jujus and Village Underground for corporate events and new graduate designers. She maintains a strong connection with the UAL through her position as a Specialist Teaching and Learning Print & Dye Technician at London College of Art and Chelsea School of Art.  Kavita has a PG Cert in Higher Education and an MA in Academic Practice for Art, Design and Communication and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Kavita teaches Freehand Drawing for Textiles, Silk Screen and Hand Painting for Textiles, Natural Dyes and Fashion Design & Making Summer School (16 – 18 Year Olds) for UAL Short Courses.


Please bring the following materials with you on the first day:

  • Notebook and Pen

  • Pencil

  • Strong gloves (waterproof)

  • An apron

Something to inspire you, for example: drawings, mark-making, sketches, photocopies, magazine pictures or patterns.
Colour references – i.e. colours combinations that you like, and want to try to match in your printing.
Sensible, closed toe, flat shoes. 

Please note that most materials needed for the short courses are available at the Chelsea College of Arts' Art Shop. Please contact the Art Shop directly for opening hours and availability.

Available dates