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Natural Fabric Dyeing & Batik Workshop

20-22nd September 2024


A 3day introduction to Batik & Natural Dyeing techniques with a hike to gather plants, flowers, tree barks and many hours in the workshop learning about these fascinating traditions and practicing by actually making our own pieces.

A lot of natural materials can produce amazing colours. Flowers and plants from your garden, kitchen waste that you would probably throw away, as well as plants, roots and barks of trees from a park, forest or field that is close to you. All these together create the most beautiful and harmonious colour palette. Natural dyeing is a constant exploration, full of experimentation and pleasant surprises.
Batik is a wax-resist technique that developed in Indonesia. Using small copper tools called tjantings we will draw on fabric. The tjantings hold melted wax in them. The applied wax resists the dyes, therefore wherever we draw the colour stays the original fabric colour, whereas the rest will be dyed using natural dyes. 
This 3day workshop will be a balanced mix of theory and practical work. We will go through some of the history and tradition of Batik as it is practiced in Indonesia, Laos and Vietnam. We will also talk about the history and tradition of Natural Dyeing as it is done in Greece. We will learn about natural materials (linen, cotton, silk), how to use different batik tools from Indonesia, Laos and Vietnam, and how to take off wax residue from the fabrics. We will combine natural dyeing and batik techniques to make our pieces.

We will also talk about organic materials and what fabrics/yarns to use for natural dyeing, about the scouring and mordanting process using Aluminium & Iron preparations, and how to take care of naturally dyed items, sustainability and the benefits of natural dyeing for our skin and the environment.
We will use 4 plants and create 8 colours, using plants that we will collect on our hike as well as the following:
- Madder roots - one of the most famous dye plants, was cultivated for dyeing in Greece, now can be found growing wild,
- Acorn Cupules - a plant that was used for natural dyeing in Greece, 
- Chamomile flowers - traditionally used for natural dyeing in Greece,
- Onion Skins - kitchen waste that was collected for natural dyeing in Greece.
Each student will batik on 3 small fabrics (20cm x20cm) of silk, cotton and linen to use as samples and try out the different tools, and two large pieces of fabric (50cm x 50cm), one cotton and one linen. 

Included in the workshop:

Natural Fabric Dyeing & Batik Workshop

  • There are 2 options to pay for this course:

    1. Pay the whole amount when you book the course. Payment is refundable if you cancel 30 days before the start of your course.

    2. Pay for your course 50% upon booking and the remainder 1 month later or upon your arrival, whichever is sooner. Advance payment is refundable if you cancel 30 days before the start of your course.

  • Christiana Vardakou

    Christiana Vardakou studied at UAL: Chelsea College of Arts, London, where she obtained her BA in Textile Design. She specialised in Print & Dyeing and decided to join the "Slow Design" movement that focuses on sustainability, zero waste and emotionally durable design. Three months after graduating she travelled to 7 countries in South East Asia to learn more about traditional textile techniques such as plant dyeing, weaving, embroidery, batik, appliqué and eco-printing.

    In 2019, she returned to Greece and opened her own studio, specialising in ethical, handmade and sustainable textiles, fashion and interior items. The first studio in Greece that works exclusively with natural dyes: all the pieces are individually designed, finished by hand and can be completely personalised. In addition to the brand's collections, Christiana also collaborates with other fashion brands, architects, interior designers, event planners and hotels.

    She teaches her techniques in her studio, and also collaborates with organisations such as the Onassis Stegi Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, the Interactive European School, the Benaki Museum, the Mandarin Oriental in Costa Navarino among others.

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