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Natural Dyes for Textiles

Natural Dyes for Textiles

Chelsea College of Arts
Taught by
Lara Mantell


Discover how to print with natural dyestuffs. This beautiful, ancient craft is celebrating a resurgence within contemporary textiles. Through demonstrations and individual tuition you will learn about mordents and understand how to achieve luminous colours. For reference, you will be provided with a range of natural dye print samples and colour swatches. Using low-tech printing methods such as cut-paper stencils and mono-print you will have plenty of time to experiment and test out printing onto a variety of different fabrics. You will be encouraged to create unique designs and mix your own colours. Environmental and sustainable issues will also be discussed, allowing comparisons to be made with the synthetic print industry. Information including recipes to make your own natural dyes along with a list of suppliers will also be provided so that you can continue practising these techniques at home, or in a small print workshop.

Course Outcomes
You will leave 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
Suitable for textile print designers, 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. And, environmentally conscious artists who want to print colour and pattern. 

All Levels Welcome

Tutor Description

Lara Mantell is a printed textile designer, with a degree in Fashion and Textile Design with Business Studies from the University of Brighton. Lara works as a Specialist Print and Dye technician on the BA and MA Textile courses at Chelsea College of Arts. An experienced teacher of drawing and textile design, Lara has devised and taught short courses at Chelsea and other London college for many years. With an extensive repertoire of print and design knowledge and an interest in sustainable practice, she successfully researches contemporary methods for screen printing with natural dyes. Lara’s freelance career has included selling textile designs to major fashion brands, such as The Collection, as well as undertaking bespoke commissions for hand-printed cushions and silk scarfs. Her large large-scale intricately printed textile designs have been exhibited in recent exhibitions at Chelsea College of Arts.


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