Dye short course

Fashion & Textiles: Explore Natural Dye

Nature’s Colour on Cloth: discover natural dyeing and textile printing techniques

Key details
Penryn Campus
Course duration
5 days

Course overview

Join our unique five-day short course at our Fashion & Textiles Institute, with an expert team of creative practitioners guiding you through a range of sustainable natural dyeing and printing techniques. At the end of this course, you’ll use all your new skills to translate your designs onto a sustainable linen apron or pair of linen cushion covers to take home with you.

Inspired by traditional Japanese natural dyeing methods and craft sensibilities which 'give nature a voice' through making, on this immersive five-day experience you will embark on a holistic textile journey. From mark making and design development to natural dyeing, print making and reflection, you’ll stretch your creative and practical skills with the natural world at the centre of all stages.

To encourage your creative practice, you will have your own dedicated studio space in our Fashion & Textiles Institute for the duration of the course.

Course dates: 1-5 July 2024

Price: £850 - £1,100

Book your place now


Course details

This course gives you hands-on experience of natural, sustainable textile dye and design, with the theme of connecting to nature through sustainable practise.  From your initial inspiration drawing and mark making, to naturally dyeing items and applying your designs, you’ll experience each stage of the sustainable textile dye and design process. The invitation to work with ‘nature as teacher’ offers a meaningful, biophilic learning experience.

Creating your designs

Framed by an insight into traditional Japanese natural dyeing, this course begins in our natural dye garden (weather allowing). You will be guided to work directly with plants and trees to create designs, using a variety of contemporary and traditional mark making and drawing methods.

You will also have the opportunity to get inspired by our Textiles & Dress Collection, a reference collection of textiles that includes lace from the mid seventeenth century and dress and accessories from the early 1800s to the present day.

Exploring natural dye methods

Moving to our professional-standard Textile Design studio, you will select dye plants to colour your fabrics as a base for printing. You will be guided through the natural dyeing process, learning how to prepare, dye and modify nature’s palette of colours on cloth. 

You will choose either a sustainable linen apron or pair of cushion covers, made from high quality sustainable linen, which you will naturally dye to become the ‘canvas’ for your designs. 

Applying your designs

This stage invites exploration and play as you transform and translate your marks and drawings through a guided series of design development processes.  

You'll apply your designs, developed from your mark making and drawings, to your naturally dyed item through a series of innovative printing techniques using natural dyes as printing ink. Alongside this, you'll have the opportunity to further explore techniques on pieces of cloth and create a natural dyeing workbook resource.

The journey ends with a private view of your work with the other course participants. You will have a chance to display and discuss your work before you take it home. 

Throughout the week each guided activity will offer the opportunity for connecting, collaborating, and reflecting, to ensure that your time spent with us is both meaningful and memorable.


Our Natural Dye Garden

Alice Selwood, senior teaching technician in the Fashion & Textiles Institute, tells us about Falmouth's natural dye garden and how the students incorporate it into their work. 


What you need to know

This five-day course will run from 1 to 5 July 2024.

This course is taught at our Penryn Campus, in our Fashion & Textiles Institute. 

During the course, you will have access to your own studio style space, in a modern, light-filled building within the Fashion & Textiles Institute, with use of some of the facilities during your course.


Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for being outside in our walled garden and in our studios including dye labs. 

You are welcome to bring a change of clothing, if this would be more comfortable for you. 

All materials will be provided, and there will be allowance for experimentation.

You’ll take your finished item home with you, along with any test prints you have made.

Accommodation is not included in this course cost.

If you would like to book accommodation, please find some suggestions below. Please note that we are not responsible for any accommodation costs incurred, including as a result of the course being rescheduled or cancelled.

If you'd like to stay on-campus at Penryn, our Penryn student halls accommodation can be booked. This is a simple and affordable accommodation option within a five minute walk across campus to the Fashion & Textiles Institute. A mix of double and twin bedrooms are available, each with bed, desk and en-suite shower room. Bedding and towels are provided. You should bring your own toiletries. There are shared kitchen facilities. Click here for more information and to book.

Alternatively, there are a range of hotels and B&Bs available in Penryn and Falmouth and there is a regular bus service to our Penryn Campus. 

Lunch and tea/coffee are included each day on campus, and all diets can be catered for. 

Course programme

Typically, on this course the days follow the below structure: 

Mornings are taught workshops with a mid morning break.

Following a shared lunch, afternoons will usually start with another workshop before a mid-afternoon break, and time for more reflective or experimental practice to end the day.

This course will end with a private view on the Friday afternoon with other participants and tutors, and an opportunity to celebrate your achievements and discuss your work.  

Dye short course
Dye short course
Dye short course
Dye short course

Course leader - Irene Griffin

Irene has worked in the field of sustainable Textile Design for 15 years, specialising in growing and using natural plant dyes. She has worked as a Technical Specialist for BA Textile Design and is a Visiting Lecturer for MA Sustainable Fashion at Falmouth University.

Additional staff include:

Where will the course take place?

Fashion & Textiles Institute, Penryn Campus  

Standing proud above Penryn town and just a short hop away from the vibrant community of Falmouth, Penryn Campus’ architectural innovation, outstanding facilities and industry-standard technology make it the ideal place to hone your skills. 

Our award winning gardens at Penryn Campus are open for all to enjoy. Visitors can take in the walled garden, herbaceous beds, sub-tropical planting, fruit producing orchard, Italian garden and terraces, the 18th Century lime avenue, parkland, the old drive with pinetum native woodlands and historic rare rhododendrons, cultivated on the site in the Victorian era. Ideal for de-stressing, ideas-generating and playing.

A range of car parking options are available for you if you need to bring your vehicle to Penryn Campus.

Find out more

Download our Penryn Campus map below

Explore our Fashion & Textiles Institute

Important information

There are wheelchair accessible areas in the studio, and around campus, however there are some limited access areas are: Dye garden, Dye lab and the screen wash area. Please contact us if you have questions about access on campus. 

Download our Terms & Conditions below

How to apply

Who is this course suitable for?

Suitable for people with a keen interest in natural dyeing, design practice, textile making, visual arts, 3D crafts, and creative practice.

No previous experience or prior knowledge is required.

Please note: to apply for our Summer Short Courses, you must be 18+ years of age. 

Book now

Click the button below to book your place. You can choose to reserve your place with a deposit or pay in full. If you have any queries please contact us on shortcourses@falmouth.ac.uk

Book your place now

Fees, costs & funding

You can choose to reserve your place with a deposit or pay in full.

Rate  Price Date available until
Super Early Bird £850 30 April 2024 
Early Bird £950 30 May 2024 
Standard £1,100 16 June 2024 

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How to find us

Falmouth University is split between two campuses, approximately four miles apart. Regular buses run between the two, with a journey time of 20-25 minutes.

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