Workshop Dates:  September 18-20, 2020

Eco Dyeing Art Journals With Susan Brooks

  • Zoom Class in you own kitchen on September 18, 19, and 20
  • 9:00am-4:00pm
  • $160 + Supplies

About Susan:
The tactile and visual beauty of fabric has been a motivation to creativity.  As a child, I was fascinated by the possibility of transforming a flat piece of cloth into a uniquely crafted article of clothing.  After a journey of making dolls, garments and quilts, I am now driven to experiment with new techniques in dyeing, painting and embellishing fabric.  I enjoy sharing my passion with others by teaching these techniques and broadening my own exploration in fabric art.  My aspiration is to tell a story, engage the viewer in a dialogue and challenge them to a deeper emotional experience.

Due to the Coronas Virus, we will be making some major changes to this workshop.  Join us on Zoom and let’s spend three days learning and playing together to make incredible art.  Each day we will have Zoom available for instructions, questions and answers, personal one on one instruction and social times, as well as YouTube videos demos and photos.

The advantage of this class is a reduced cost due to not needing to provide a teaching space. However, the savings could be offset by each student needing to purchase their own supplies. Please contact Susan Brooks,, if this is a hardship she will arrange to have you borrow some of her supplies. (There are approximate costs listed with the supply list).

Susan will also be opening her studio, by appointment only (for social distancing concerns). You will be able to experiment with her Heat Press and print pages in 3 minutes instead of 3 hours of boiling.

Also, for those close to Louisville, Susan can boil your bundles if you drop off and pick them up before day two.

Overview of the workshop:

  • Day one – Preparing and boiling your bundles of paper and fabric

  • Day two – Make more bundles and start the art of embellishing your papers

  • Day three – Binding methods to assemble art journals, wriQng journals and art cards.

Here is a quick summary of how Day 1 will go

  • 9:00 am Zoom Intro of what you can accomplish with dyeing paper and fabric.

    • 1- You Tube video demonstrating how to mix your chemicals, soak paper and fabric, making a carrier cloth.

    • Zoom discussion about collection and storing of plant material.

    • 2- You Tube video demonstrating how to wrap and prepare your material for dyeing.

    • Begin your wrapping and preparing your materials for dyeing. This will take several hours.

  • Noon Zoom Lunch break, check in and eat lunch together.

  • Begin boiling or drop off bundles at Susan’s house.

  • 3:00 pm Zoom Check in for boiling.

    • 3- You Tube on how to unwrap bundles.

  • 4:00 pm Final for the day and overview of Day 2.

Zoom will be open all day for the three days for questions, comments, suggestions.

Susan will be providing all the mordants and some black walnut dye material, as well as her book:

Eco Dyed Art Journals, Using Nature’s Imprints.


  • Plants/flowers/eucalyptus (found at Trader Joe’s for about $10 or order thru florist at King Soopers)

  • 12 inch Canning pot – at least 1 pot for boiling ($10)

  • Papers – various types of water color papers –

    • Arches Aquarella ($42)

    • envelopes

    • Rives ($10)

    • Khadi Rag cotton ($12-32)

    • Copy paper

    • Sketch book for wrapping entire book (Walmart $5)

  • Fabrics

    • silk

    • A piece of crafter’s felt

    • Cotton for use in heat press only

    • wool gauze

  • Small flat pieces of metal

    • Nails

    • Rebar

    • Railroad ties

    • grid tiles from Hobby Lobby

    • Copper tube Metal with design

  • Cotton twine ($5-15)

  • Rubber gloves ($10-20)

  • Several shoe box size rubber or plastic tubs ($1.50/each). Need at least 3-4

  • Dowels – 3⁄4” to 1” wide ($5-15)

  • Old towels, pot holders & tongs

  • Tiles – 8” x 8” – about $40/box. Or 6 x 6 – about $23/box

    • You will need at least 8 tiles to make four bundles

  • Rubber bands – A Lot! size 32 or 33 (1/8” x 3.5”) – ($5)

  • Spray bottle

  • Glass gallon size jar – at least 1 (2 for $25 on amazon)

  • Vinegar

  • Susan will provide mordants and black walnut for dyeing

  • Embellishment

    • Misc stuff you have around – laces, fabrics, photos, tissue paper


  • Heavy artist poster board ($10 -Michael’s, hobby lobby)

  • Paper punch ($11)

  • Wax thread – order or can be found at Michaels

  • Needles – size 16 tapestry rounded tip

  • Size 18 yarn darner with sharp tip

  • Paint &brushes

  • Glues – Aleena ($5)

  • Clamp paper clips – medium size (at least 4)

  • Sewing machine

  • Ironing board

Once the registration is complete, a list students will be emailed out.  If some people would like to get together to buy paper and fabric and share.

Date:  Zoom Class in you own kitchen on September 18, 19, and 20, 2020

Time:  9:00am-4:00pm

Cost:  $160 + Supplies

Registration:  Open now!  (Remember you must be a member of FRCQ to register for this class – Join FRCQ).

My dyeing materials 

by Chris Pennel

I took a dyeing class from Susan Brooks last fall. It was a kick working with Susan. She is gregarious and giving. She shared her infinite dyeing wisdom. And those tidbits that she passes on, that you only get from the experienced, are so helpful. Susan makes you feel at ease. Dyeing is very involved and she scaffolds the learning process, so you become more confident with dyeing. 

Here are some of the items that I have for dyeing at my home. I certainly didn’t begin with all these materials. I acquired them as I saw a need to learn more about dyeing. It all fits in two small boxes and the pot.  And you should see Susan’s stash!

          • Eco – Dyed Art Journals Using Nature’s Imprints by Susan Brooks
          • 27 quart enamel pot
          • Loads of towels, rubber gloves, cup, cotton string
          • Spray bottle – vinegar& water
          • Frozen – Black Walnut hulls, Avocados skins and nut, Onion peels
          • Ferrous sulfate Cochineal
          • Alum
          • Salt
          • Cream of Tartar – haven’t used yet, addition to alum mordant bath. It can soften wool, brighten shades, and point the colour of some dyes (it will move the fuschia of cochineal to a true red)
          • Tannic Acid – haven’t used yet, pre-soak cellulose fibers, then pre-soak with alum
          • Soda ash – haven’t used yet, changes the pH of the fiber-reactive dye and cellulose fiber so that the dye reacts with the fiber

Dharma Trading Co. is a source for dyeing chemicals and silk.


          • Silk hemmed scarves from Dharma
          • Plastic tubs –
            • 1) alum bath to pre soak the silk and paper
            • 2) ferrous bath to dip the leaves in before laying on the silk or paper
          • Re-bar or copper tubing to wrap the silk around before dyeing.
          • String
          • Eucalyptus leaves – There is quite a variety.
          • Plastic to lay on silk before rolling around a stick or metal tubing
          • Carrier cloth- muslin

      • Arches Watercolor 140 lb (300g/m2) paper
      • Khadi handmade cotton rag 320 gpm 
      • Envelopes 
      • Under the Sun handmade paper with gold filament
      • Handmade seeded plantable recycled paper by Of the Earth
      • Colored paper 
      • String, rubber bands
      • Ceramic tile
      • Heavy paper towels


The four papers, top left are simmered in cochineal 

The three papers, top right with onion skins simmered in black walnut hulls.

The four papers and envelope on the bottom are simmered in black walnut hulls.

All leaves were pre-soaked in ferrous sulfate, alternating paper and leaves, then braced with ceramic tile as book ends. Lots of Rubber bands to hold the paper, leave, tile sandwich together. Then tied tightly with cotton string for dyeing. 

All were pre-soaked in Alum, laid eucalyptus leaves pre-soaked in ferrous sulfate, covered in plastic,folded lengthwise rolled on copper tubing and steamed.  The left scarf is silk and wool. The other two are silk.

I had great results with more understanding. Susan’s class is so helpful!

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Dates: Every third Monday, January through November.
Location: Westminster Recreation Center, 10455 Sheridan Blvd, Westminster, CO
Time: Social time starts at 6:30. The meeting is from 7-9.