Screenprinting textiles with botanical natural dyes with Lara Mantell

Art textiles

Ref: SLW11479

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About this course

Explore screenprinting textiles with natural dyes and transform drawings and inspirational material into vibrant screen prints. Mordants, foraraged materials, and natural extracts will be used to create sustainable, beautifully coloured and washfast printed fabric.

Course Description

Explore creative printing with natural dyes, considering textile design, heritage colour, and sustainability. Produce dynamic beautiful textiles, using ecologically sourced materials using a contemporary interpretation of screen printing with botanical dyes.

The tutor will show fabric examples that demonstrate the pattern and repeating structure of print designs, and share her passion for colour, rhythm, and drawing. You are invited to bring visual references or research for inspiration, and have the opportunity to draw from nature in the award-winning West Dean Gardens.

You will learn to make botanical print pastes from heritage and indigenous plants; focusing on foraged and bio-waste plant materials. These colours will be enriched by natural dye extracts, to achieve vibrant and colourfast prints. The role of mordants in the print process will be explored and there will be opportunities to try some unusual ones. You will also discover the excitement of printing with colour modifiers; iron, citric, and soda ash, and learn how they can enhance and alter your designs.

Discover sustainable and best practice print and dye methods, and screen-printing utilising cut-paper stencils. Through a series of demonstrations and studio work you will explore design ideas. You can expect to create plenty of samples onto a variety of fabrics, and to produce complex patterns by experimenting with colours and layering of imagery. There will be the opportunity to print a scarf size piece of fabric.

You will be encouraged to create individual colour palettes and start a unique natural print reference book. The course is structured to be suitable for those who are beginners to print and dye, as well as those with more experience wanting to widen their knowledge and skills using botanical dyes.

Please note: the dye materials used on this course include potential allergens, as many are plant derived. It is not suitable for those with a sensitivity to allergens.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • Most of the printing pastes, mordants, dye plants, natural dye extracts and other materials are supplied for the set dye projects, alongside small samples of wool, habutai silk, cotton and linen fabric.

What students need to bring

  • Any foraged/scavenged plants that you specifically wish to try making botanical print pastes from. Some recommended ones are; any red or blue edible berries, cabbage, onion skins, pomegranate, advocado, walnut skins, carrot tops, fennel, eucalyptus, and turmeric. Ensure the plants are non-poisonous. To be most sustainable plant-matter should be non-edible waste products; ie: peelings and pips.
  • Notebook and pen, sketchbook and some drawing materials.
  • A few plastic lidded containers (recycled ones would be perfect) – 200-300ml for storing personal print colours.
  • Clothing: protective gloves, apron, sturdy covered shoes. Also be prepared for outdoor sketching session.
  • An inspiring piece of visual research material in the form of a sketchbook, drawing, postcard, piece of fabric.
  • Any favourite mark-making tools such as paintbrushes, soft rollers, sponges, other items to make good textures and marks.
  • Undyed natural fibre fabrics that you may wish to try printing onto; silk, wool, cotton, and linen.
  • Fabric or paper scissors – if you have them.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A range of 200g – 300g paper for those wishing to print onto paper
  • A range of silk and cotton fabric, if you wish to print a larger piece of fabric
  • Sketchbook or notebook for organising dye samples
  • Paper, pencils and pens, for making initial print designs
  • Craft knives
  • Masking tape
  • Available from tutor:
  • The tutor will be able to supply some additional items, including:
  • Extra fine wool fabric for larger print samples (approx. £24/metre)
  • Extra natural dye extracts, if you wish to trial different colours or print large samples
  • Extra colour modifiers, if you wish to to print large pieces of fabric: Ferrous sulphate/iron/Citric Acid/Soda Ash
Please note this course is not suitable for anyone with allergies to plants or nuts. Dye sources will include red and white onions, red cabbage, advocado pips/stones, berries and extracts from Brazil wood, Madder, Fustic, Buckthorn berry, Chloropylln, Weld and Logwood – this is not a complete list, additional items may also be used on the course. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


Lara Mantell

Lara studied textiles in Brighton, and is an inspirational, creative print designer. She has sold work to major fashion brands, printed scarfs and hangings, and exhibited her intricate fabric designs. Lara paints, researches sustainability, and collaborates on artistic projects. She is an experienced and accomplished drawing and fabric design tutor.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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