Lichen Dyes Workshop

Date/Time:  Sunday, January 21, 2018, 10:00am-3:00pm

Location:  University of California Botanic Garden, Berkeley, CA

Instructors:  Sarah Minnick and Shelly Benson

Course Fee:  $75

Registration:  via UC Botanic Garden

This workshop will provide an overview and history of lichen dyes followed by information on the methodologies of creating lichen dye baths. We will heat up some dyes and add fiber samples (provided). While the dye lichens are doing their work, Shelly will lead class participants on a walk in the surrounding area to look for lichens in the Garden. We will learn some common lichen species and the characteristics that help identify those good for dyeing. After the walk we’ll see what colors have developed in the dye pots!

Participants will take home instructions for dyeing with lichens as well as the samples they dyed. If you have a hand lens, please bring it on the foray so you can truly appreciate the fine details of the lichens. Please bring a lunch to enjoy in the Gardens.


Shelly Benson is the former president of the California Lichen Society (CALS)  and has been studying lichens for the past 18 years.  She received a Master of Science degree in 2001 from the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada, where she studied lichen ecology in the canopy of old growth forests in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.  She worked on several lichen inventories in the San Francisco Bay Area and has led numerous lichen walks for CALS.  Shelly is interested in using lichens as indicators for air quality and climate change.

Sarah Minnick has been experimenting with natural dyes for a number of years and has a special interest in using found lichens as a dye source. She presented her work at a CALS annual meeting and has taught dye classes at the Sonoma Mycological Society’s SOMA Camp.  She has collaborated with CALS to develop sustainable collection practices for dye lichens. Sarah studied mathematics and wetlands conservation and is currently a restoration ecologist working to protect and restore natural systems in Marin County.

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