Half-day workshops

A Cape Breton Experience: Fabric Dyeing by the Sea

scarves_on_clothesline.JPGIf you have only a few hours to spend, you are invited to come by yourself or with a group of up to 6 people (women, men, teenagers, and children 8 or older). You can arrange to have a fabric dyeing experience with only a day's notice.

At the end of Mabou Harbour Road you'll reach my hillside studio overlooking the Gulf of the St. Lawrence and the rolling dunes of West Mabou beach. Lobster boats head out to sea, watched over by the resident bald eagle pair from their lookout on the bluff.

2011_girls_in_T-shirts.JPGIn this stimulating setting of ocean and sky, you're invited to discover or nurture your creativity by doing some fabric dyeing. You don't need to be "artistic" or experienced in any way, just willing to play, experiment and try something new.

There's something magical about pouring dye onto white fabrics and seeing them transformed into rainbow hues. Each person in a group can choose one or two simple projects, whether it's dyeing several quarter yards of cotton fabric, painting a silk scarf, and/or dyeing a T-shirt. If you come alone, there will be time to do at least two projects.

2011_one_woman.JPGUsing safe chemical dyes, you'll learn to mix your own colours, perhaps inspired by the blue of the ocean, the soft greens of the meadow grasses, or the colours of the sunset you saw the night before. You'll create patterns by scrunching, folding, or clamping the fabrics. Then you'll paint, pour, or squirt on the dye.                

While we're waiting for the dyes to cure, I'll give you a tour of my studio and answer any questions you have about dyeing, quilting, my work as a textile artist, what else there is to do in Cape Breton, other artists to visit, why I moved to Mabou, and more. We'll sit together at the kitchen table and share some local oatcakes and a cup of tea (or milk for children).

2011_2_girls_w_scarves.JPGYou'll take home with you the fabric, scarf, and/or T-shirts you've dyed yourself along with memories of the beautiful landscape and the fun of being creative.

A little about me: I've been dyeing cotton fabric for my fine art quilts for a dozen years, using fibre reactive dyes and experimenting with many techniques. My work has been shown in such venues as Quilt National in Athens, Ohio and the Mary Black Gallery in Halifax and has been published in Art Quilts: A Celebration and Fiberarts Design Book Six. In the past few years I've also been dyeing silk scarves, and I love the way the lightweight silk takes the dyes. I enjoy sharing my passion for colour and have taught more than 90 people how to dye fabric.

2011_neighbors_in_breeze.JPGWhat others say:

"An oasis of creative fun.... With a well-equipped studio and lots of ideas to share, Ann makes learning about colors and fabric a wonderful and encouraging experience."

"It was quite the best workshop I have attended and the setting was certainly the most beautiful."

"My blues and greens really did capture the landscape colors.... A great way to spend a sunny day—or a rainy one."

2011_Reginas_group.JPGTo register: Call ahead (902-945-2744) to schedule a morning or afternoon fabric dyeing session (3 hours). Children 8 and older are welcome. Men are also welcome! Please wear comfortable shoes and play clothes (not your best white linen pants). Smocks will be provided. Here are directions to my studio.

Schedule: Available most Mondays through Saturdays with advance notice. 

Fee (includes all materials): 1 person $150; 2 to 3 people $100 per person; 4 people $85 per person; 5 to 6 people $75 per person. A full refund minus a $25 booking fee per group will be given if cancelled at least 24 hours in advance.