Natural dyeing and mushroom paper making through the seasons from locally foraged materials is a beautifully engaging, creative, playful, artistic, and nature-based way to reveal the hidden or unnoticed wonders and riches of the natural world around us. People have sourced natural colour from wild botanicals for millennia, and we shall continue this great tradition. Few people, however, are aware that both a rainbow of colour possibilities for dyeing AND wonderful craft paper of different natural colours and textures can be made from numerous fungi species, especially tough and inedible bracket fungi. Many of these fungi are also highly medicinal, especially as regards immune support. After initially identifying and collecting suitable fungi in the field (so to speak)– most will be in the woods, we will gather either indoors or a covered area outside (depending on the weather), and practically, hands on, explore the techniques required to produce different grades of mushroom paper: It can be made as thin as tissue paper, smooth and ideal for use in a photocopier, just the right thickness for cards and bookmarks, or thick enough to make boxes. As a by-product of the paper making process, we shall also make a delicious medicinal mushroom soup.
Simultaneously, in this series of workshops in East Sussex over the coming year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter) we will discovery a unique range of natural colours that can be sourced from the local area for dyeing wool and natural fabric. These colours are often apparent, but also often hidden within plants, fungi, and seaweeds, within roots, barks, berries, and leaves of countless botanicals that we will forage on the day. Working with differently mordanted fabrics, and through the creation and use of paper made from different mushroom species, you will discover the many unique variables involved in the extraction and setting down of colour. As the dye pots bubble away, with mushrooms we will play, blending, pressing, and all things papering.
Paper takes a couple of days to dry in a press for best results, and dyed wool and fabric is often best left over night, so your individually crafted papers and dyed wool/cloth samples will be posted to you once fully dried.