At the London Guild we have a specialist interest group for dyers. 

Our members mostly use natural dyes but not exclusively. Many grow their own dye materials or collect it from the local environment. Surprisingly there is an abundance of materials to be found in London streets. As well as dyeing of materials for spinning and weaving, group members also dye fabric and practice ‘eco or bundle’ dyeing especially in the Summer months. There is a wide range of experience within the group with some members running their own teaching practices and other members completely new to dyeing. We all share a passion for colour and an enthusiasm for our craft. 

All Guild members with a particular interest in dyeing can join the Dye Interest Group (as well as any other of the special interest groups) as part of the membership package. 

The Guild’s Dye Interest Group meets to discuss techniques and what they have been working on and to share information about exhibitions, workshops and courses. 

Meetings are either in person at the Burridge Gardens Community Centre off Danvers Avenue SW11 1AR on Saturday mornings at 11:00 am prior to the afternoon monthly Guild meeting or by Zoom. The Zoom meetings are normally held on the first  Monday evening of the month at 7:00 pm. A recording of the meeting is made available to members for about a month afterwards for the benefit of those who were unable to attend. 

See what's on →

Learning resources

Morley College offers occasional taster and short courses in dyeing and printing at its Waterloo Centre, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7HT. 

West Dean College offers short courses in dyeing and printing in West Sussex.

Maiwa is a supplier and online course provider based in Vancouver, Canada. 

Natural dye educator Mel Sweetnam at Mamie’s Schoolhouse provides online courses, information and a blog.

Irit Dulman  provides online courses in botanical printing.

Rob Jones teaches natural dyeing and traditional Japanese textile crafts, including working with Shibori and Katagami stencilling. In person in London and online.

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers organises a summer school every two years and one or more of the courses will be for aspects of both synthetic and natural dyeing. 

Recommended books and magazines

‘Wild Colours’ by Jenny Dean, Mitchell Beazley 2018 (revised edition) ISBN 9781784725532  Highly recommended for beginners to natural dyeing. 

‘The Art and Science of Natural Dyes’ by Joy Boutrup and Catharine Ellis, Schiffer 2018, ISBN 978-0-7643-5633-9  For the more advanced natural dyer.

‘The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing’ by  Jim Liles. University of Tennessee Press, 1990, ISBN 9780870496707 Now reprinted. This book is very comprehensive with tried and tested dyeing methods for the more experienced dyer.

The Colour of the Sea and Sky by  Helen Melvin a self-published concise and informative guide to indigo dyeing. 

The Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers – published quarterly by the Association of Guilds. Guild members can subscribe at a discounted rate.

There are many other books on dyeing techniques, some of which are in the Guild’s library held at the Carmelita Centre. Members of the Dye Interest Group are always happy to recommend specialist books or resources about particular aspects of dyeing.

Useful websites

Botanical Colours is a supplier from the USA whose website contains a wealth of information and a popular series of ‘Feedback Friday’ videos.

Nature’s Rainbow for a blog on dye plant horticulture, in person workshops and online sale of seed.

The Dogwood Dyer for her year in Natural Dyes

Facebook groups

‘Indigo Pigment Extraction Methods’ hosted by Brittany Boles 

‘Growing Dyeplants’ hosted by Bonifacio Barrio Hijosa from Madrid

‘Natural Dye Education’ hosted by Mel Sweetnam

Roving dyed with natural dyes by Chloe Habour

Freshly dug and washed Madder root

Silk dyed with fresh indigo leaves by Marietta Richardson