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Image by Nina Luong


Ontario SHSM Sectors 

  • Arts & Culture

  • Environment (Experiential Learning)

  • Agriculture/Horticulture (Experiential Learning)

  • Forestry (Experiential Learning)

General Course Classroom Integration:

  • Visual Arts

  • Fashion

  • Environment

  • Other

Students will actively participate in a comparison between three common methods of applying colour to textiles, as they explore fabric dyeing using plants, animals (insects) and chemicals. They build a basic knowledge of the chemistry of fabric dyeing and develop skills through hands-on activities. They learn about current textile dyeing practices and their effects on people and planet, and gain confidence in reading clothing labels, while using critical thinking skills to make informed choices about future clothing purchases.

Comparison Materials:

WELD (fresh, dried and/or extract plant method): Weld is an ancient dye plant whose latin name is Reseda luteola. Legend states it was used to dye the robes of the Vestal Virgins in Roman times. Weld produces a wide range of robust lemon yellows and can be over-dyed with woad to produce Lincoln Green.

COCHINEAL (dried insect method): The cochineal is an insect that belongs to the suborder Sternorrhyncha, from which the natural dye carmine is derived. A common additive, cochineal derived dye can be found in food, drugs and cosmetics. Cochineal yields a powerful range of fuchsias, reds and purples. Fears over the safety of artificial food additives renewed the popularity of cochineal dyes, and the increased demand has made cultivation of the insect profitable again, with Peru being the largest producer, followed by Mexico, Chile, Argentina and the Canary Islands, for which it maintains an important economic product. 

INDIGO (chemical method): Indigo dye is an organic compound with a distinctive blue color. ... Most indigo dye produced today is synthetic, constituting several thousand tons each year.

Let's Compare and weigh in on the pros and cons of each!

Cost: $15/pp + $840

Duration: 1 Full School Day (5 hours Approx)

Location: Your School or Arranged Facility

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