Explore natural dyes using Northern California fungi! During this workshop taught by Elissa Callen, we will go over how to hunt for local dye mushrooms, ethical harvesting, prepping your fibers for dyeing, and how to achieve a variable range of color even with just one species through different common natural dyeing techniques. One of the many gifts of living in Northern California is the wealth of local dye fungi!
All dye mushrooms will be provided, but if you’re curious to test mushrooms of your own, students are welcome to bring their own mushroom samples and we can all examine them together and assess for viability. (If your mushroom is not fresh, please bring several photos of where it was collected and how it looked fresh in order to help with identification. You can also upload to iNaturalist ahead of class to help with ID, which is recommended.)
Students will leave with fabric samples of the different dyes illustrating the breadth of color attainable from the fungi species selected for the workshop. Students are additionally welcome to bring modest fabric pieces of their own to dye in one of the provided larger dye pots (natural fibers only, wool and silk recommended for best results).
The class will also briefly touch on an array of other mushroom uses to consider when you’re collecting out in the forest, including making pigments for paint and spotting common edibles in the same areas as your dye mushrooms.
Please bring your own lunches! Small bites made from hand foraged mushrooms will be shared by Elissa.
Elissa Callen is an artist working with local plants and fungi to make natural pigments, inks, and dyes that she further uses as the staple materials in her art practice. She holds a degree in fine art, has a professional background in horticulture, and nearly ten years of experience researching and practicing sustainably using natural materials for color. She is passionate about California ecology and believes in using her work with natural materials as a means of increasing community interest in environmentalism and connectedness to the native landscape.