Sustainable screenprints with natural dyes with Lara Mantell

Ref: SSW31191

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About this course

This course is a short weekend with a timetable variation: 10am-5pm on Saturday and 9am-4pm on Sunday.

Learn to screenprint onto paper with natural dyes to make rich and colourful designs. Make inks from leaves, flowers, roots and shoots using kitchen bio-waste, extracts, and foraged plants. Design with cut-paper stencils, and print layers of pattern and beautiful sustainable colour.

Course Description

Explore screenprinting onto paper using natural dyes to make rich and colourful designs.

This course is a creative and practical interpretation of traditional craft techniques. Initially you will learn how to make botanical print pastes; focusing on ecologically sourced indigenous and bio-waste plant materials. These pastes, enriched by natural dye extracts, allow for vibrant or subtle prints. You will discover the excitement of printing with colour modifiers, and use them to enhance and transform designs.

The tutor will show examples of work that demonstrate the design process and her passion for colour, pattern and drawing. After an introductory session, where the techniques of making inks, printing, and cut paper stencils are explained, you will start on your own work with the guidance of the tutor.

Through a series of playful studies you will explore design ideas, producing complex patterns by over-printing colour and imagery. You can expect to achieve a small series of multi-layered prints, together with some experimental research work.

You are invited to bring visual references for inspiration, or alternatively encouraged to explore the decorative features of the architecture and gardens of West Dean.

The course is structured to be suitable for those who are beginners to print, as well as those with more experience wanting to widen their knowledge and update their skills using natural dyes.


Timetable for 2 day, short weekend courses

Saturday, session one: 10am-1pm & 2-5pm. Please arrive by 9.45am.

Sunday, session two: 9am-1pm & 2-4pm.

Lunch and tea/coffee is included.

Course Materials


  • The tutor will supply some of the materials including:
  • Cornstarch for thickening,
  • Kitchen bio-waste for print colours (e.g; onion skins, avocado pits, red cabbage, pomegrate rind, carrot tops, turmeric peel)
  • Selection of dried natural dye roots/leaves/flowers to make colours from (e.g. weld, madder)
  • Natural dye extracts (e.g. logwood and chlorophyllin)
  • Colour modifiers; citric acid, bicarbonate of soda, ferroius sulphate, alum.
  • The College will supply some additional materials including: newsprint (10 sheets), Khadi paper (2 A2 sheets), Somerset satin paper (3 x A2 sheets) and masking tape.

What students need to bring

  • Notebook
  • An inspiring piece of visual research material in the form of a sketchbook, drawing, postcard, piece of fabric.
  • Marigold gloves, an apron, and wear old clothes.
  • Any items listed below

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • General art materials such as pencils, rulers, rubbers, brushes, sellotape, masking tape, scalpel, craft knife, scissors – bring any you already have.
  • Additional white paper (heavy weight 220 – 300gms smooth surface) and newsprint, if required.

Additional information

Please note that some of the dye materials and equipment used on this course may not be suitable for those with nut allergies or sensitivity to dye plant materials. Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Lara Mantell

Lara studied textiles in Brighton, and is an inspirational, creative print designer. She has sold work to major fashion brands, printed scarfs and hangings, and exhibited her intricate fabric designs. Lara paints, researches sustainability, and collaborates on artistic projects. She is an experienced and accomplished drawing and fabric design tutor.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.