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Adult Opportunities

Natural Dyes Workshop: Color from Compost

Use kitchen waste to create an exquisite natural palette of dyes.

Content Detail

In this hands-on workshop, we will extract natural dye from common compost ingredients such as coffee grounds, onion skins, and avocado pits and peels. Each of these organic materials yield a unique color. The workshop begins with raw compost that we process to make a dye bath. By the end, students will create a one-of-a-kind natural dyed silk bandana to take home. 

This class covers a brief overview of historical and contemporary practices in natural dye processes. No experience is necessary and all materials are included.

This program meets on-site at the Arboretum. 

Instructor: Rachel Davis, natural dyes artist 

Age: 16 and older


Rachel Davis, natural dyes artist

Rachel Davis received her BA from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and her MFA in printmaking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work has been exhibited in national venues including the Holter Museum of Fine Art, Helena, Montana; Evergreen Galleries, Olympia, Washington; and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters in Madison, WI. She completed a year-long artist-in-residence at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago in 2018 and an artist-in-residence at the DuPage Children’s Museum in 2019. Currently, she teaches natural dye techniques in the textiles department at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago.

What to Know

Held outdoors in a covered space. Dress for the weather in clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.

Bring dish gloves and a gallon-size zip-top bag to bring home your dyed items.


Program Schedule

Saturday, November 5, 2022

9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


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