Botanical Dyeing

Botanical Dyeing with Sian Lester

Photography by Heather Birnie

Join textile artist Siân Lester for an introduction to the magical and alchemic process of botanical dyeing.

One day course – at Hay Castle, Clore Space

Welsh textile artist Siân Lester will share her knowledge and skills in a one-day introductory botanical dyeing workshop at Hay Castle.

We will identify and forage for plants within the castle grounds, while being mindful and sensitive to the environment and surrounding ecologies. Further plant dyes will be added to extend the colour range that have close links to the heritage and history of Wales. You will learn how to successfully make up dye baths to dye wool cloth and achieve a spectrum of colourful, long-lasting hues.

Siân will assist you with making a record of all the dyeing, so that you leave with a small logbook for future reference, plus some extra for any projects you may have.

Key Information

Date: Saturday 1st July 2023

Time: 10am – 4pm

Location: The Clore Space, Hay Castle

All materials and recipes provided. You will need to bring an apron/old clothes and notebook/sketch book for taking notes and for cloth samples. If you can, then please collect a small bag of tree lichen from fallen branches to add to a collective dye bath.

Please bring a water bottle and a packed lunch for a picnic, or Hay has a variety of places to buy lunch. Tea & Coffee available to buy from the Hay Castle Café.

This course is suitable for children over the age of 10 (anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult)


What will I do and learn?

  • How to forage and identify local plants
  • Understand how to prepare and modify dye baths
  • Gain knowledge of historical and cultural contexts of botanical dyeing
  • Gain knowledge of contemporary, ethical and sustainable application to craft and art practices
  • Methods and knowledge to continue experimenting after the workshop


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