When & Where

Quick Facts

  • Availability Yes
  • Tutor Sarah Lucy Baxandall
  • Course Code W22TTSA17A
  • Suitable For 19 year olds and up are permitted on this course

What you will learn

This new course brings together two of our special areas of expertise – papermaking and natural dyeing. We will use the well-stocked Morley dye garden to provide natural colours for our handmade papers. As paper is made from cellulose, the building block of all plants, the paper fibre can be dyed in a similar way to cellulose fabrics such as cotton and linen. We will explore dyeing the paper fibre and pulp before sheet forming, painting with dyes and modifiers to create unique effects, and dip-dyeing dried sheets for more intense colours. Students should go home with a varied selection of papers for use in future projects.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Prepare natural dyes from plant materials
  • Prepare pulp for hand papermaking
  • Form consistent sheets on a mould and deckle
  • Use natural dyes to colour and decorate paper pulp and finished sheets of handmade paper


  • Full fee
  • Concession fee
  • Class format and activities

    On the first day we will explore the Morley dye garden and select plant material to make our dyes. We will prepare the dyes and use them to colour fresh cotton paper pulp and other fibres. We will learn to form sheets and will make two batches, the first using dyed pulp and the second from undyed pulp ready to dry and dip dye. We will learn how to dry the paper. On the second day we will work with sheets of paper dried overnight, dip dyeing and painting with dyes and modifiers to create unique decorative effects. There will be a chance to look at examples on both days, and a show-and-tell session to share achievements. In order to ensure that you make the best possible progress on your course, you will have regular feedback from your tutor in a constructive and supportive environment.

    Entry requirements

    This course is suitable for all levels from complete beginners onwards. More advanced students may work independently on their own projects.

    What you need to know before you enrol

    You will be working with water and pigments so wear old clothing and bring an apron. Where water is used you will be made aware of the risk of slipping, and students need to ensure water is mopped up during the session. You will work either standing up or sitting. Students co-operate to clear up the communal working areas at the end of the session and put away equipment. The class is situated on the second floor of the Nancy Seear Building. There is partial disabled access via a stair lift. Please contact ALS on 0207 450 1972 or VDA admin on 0207 450 1934 before enrolling if you have any mobility support needs.

    What you need

    You will need two or three packs of low-cost flat J-cloths, a waterproof apron and one or two carrier bags or a plastic file box to take damp work home in.

    What you can do next

    The course provides an excellent start to working with natural dyes and making paper by hand. Once you have mastered the basic techniques you can return term and term again to improve your skills and develop ideas. There are also more specialised dyeing and papermaking courses to try. Papermaking has an affinity with textiles, printmaking and bookbinding, and Morley offers courses in these areas to help you further your creative endeavours.