Regional Rainbows: Exploring the Art and Science of Mushroom and Lichen Dyeing with Alissa Allen

August 1-4, 2024 Sign up here (opens in google docs)

Exploring the Art and Science of Mushroom and Lichen Dyeing with Alissa Allen of Mycopigments.
Join me for this destination workshop of a lifetime at the world-renowned Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts. This opportunity is more than a dye class; it takes place in one of the most beautiful and welcoming farm schools in the country. Look forward to experiencing farm life with fresh homegrown meals in a bed-and-breakfast-style experience. Lora Lea and Rick Misterly of Quillisascut Farm have been welcoming students for over 20 years.

Aug 1 Pre-workshop arrival: Check-in is at 2 p.m. Thursday, August 1. Set up your lodging space and get acquainted with life on the Quillisascut farm. Lora Lea and Rick Misterly are known for their award-winning cheeses. You’ll be delighted as we taste these coveted farmstead delicacies. At 6 pm, dinner will be served at the big farm table, known to many as the place where the magic happens. Dinner will be followed by a PowerPoint introduction to the process from start to finish.

Aug 2 Workshop Day One: Delving into the Greater Northwest Regional Rainbow
We kick off our day with a light farmstead breakfast showcasing Quillisascut’s seasonal delights. From there, we’ll get right to it and start our discussion on working with fungal dyes. We’ll talk about the history and meaningfulness of incorporating place into your creations and the steps to getting started with ethics and best practices in mind. We’ll discuss mushroom and lichen identification concepts, including morphology, spore printing, the intricate relationship between fungi and plants, and spot testing for insight. We’ll share ideas for habitat conservation and community science opportunities.

We’ll then hop into the hands-on dye-extracting process. Using a curated selection of the Northwest’s finest regional dye species, we’ll take our time observing how each mushroom and lichen reveals its color uniquely. We’ll pay close attention to the temperatures and extraction times and use pH modifiers and mineral salts such as alum and iron to shift colors. We’ll find a unique way to display our samples as a memento of our time together on the farm. You’ll take home recipes that detail our process that you can refer to during future exploration.

Intermissions throughout the day will allow you to peek in on farm activities and sample tasty snacks. Lunch will be provided at noon daily. After class, you’ll have time to retreat for reflection, work on crafts, go for a walk, or help out around the farm. Every day, we’ll share dinner together around the table, followed by optional after-dinner activities, including a UV light guided night foray, an introduction to using iNaturalist, participant directed Q&Aand more.

Aug 3 Day Two workshop: Fungal Fiber Connection
Saturday morning, after breakfast, we’ll gather again to prepare our chosen protein fibers for the dye pot. We’ll use more common and abundant mushroom and lichen species to create a project-sized selection of vibrant colors.

Prior to class, head to your local yarn shop or fiber store and select 6 ounces of white or natural-colored protein-based fiber of your choice. Silk, wool, alpaca, mohair, or other animal fibers work best. Fiber can be in the form of yarn, fleece, or fabric but should be washed and weighed into one-ounce parcels. Pre-mordanting is not required; we will use dyes that can be modified simultaneously. This workshop aspect shows how fiber selection plays a role in showcasing the color. Observing everyone’s variable results will enable you to take note and move forward confidently in fiber selection. Lunch and mini breaks are included, so you don’t miss out on the delights and excitement of farm life.

At the end of this immersive experience, you’ll be equipped with skills that empower your fungal dye journey, and you’ll likely have also picked up some farmstead skills along the way. You’ll depart with a comprehensive color guidebook, firsthand

experience optimizing results, tried and true recipes, a rainbow of inspiring samples, an elegantly designed silk scarf, and enough mushroom-dyed fiber for a project. Best of all you’ll have made new friends and built beautiful memories at Quillisascut Farm.

We’ll finish our last day with a celebratory meal and a toast to our hosts!

Day 4 Sunday morning we will enjoy a leisurely farm fresh breakfast. you will have some time to explore the farm, say good bye to your new friends and get your heart and hands into a farm activity. Check out is at 11.

$1470 includes all meals and lodging (3 nights lodging in shared dorm style rooms, all meals, arrival cheese tasting and all course activities)

$700 if you plan to stay off site and only attend the two day workshop 9:00 am – 4:00 pm on Friday and Saturday. Lunches will be provided.


Meet our Workshop Instructor

Alissa Allen is a naturalist and textile artist based in Washington state and the founder of Mycopigments (2012). She is widely known for sharing her love for mushroom and lichen dyes through her in-person workshops and international public outreach platform, Mushroom and Lichen Dyers United.
Alissa is committed to advancing the art, science, and craft of mushroom and lichen dyeing as means of forging bonds between individuals and the places they love. Her teaching approach draws inspiration from mentor Dorothy Beebee, following the tradition of Miriam Rice. Her workshops are designed to be accessible to individuals of all skill levels, providing a solid foundation for beginners while emphasizing the significance of curiosity and experimentation for all in their journey of discovery. By focusing on regional fungal dye palettes, small-scale applications, and the open exchange of ideas, Alissa encourages each student to forge deeper connections with the natural environments around them and with one another. She prompts students to reflect on their ecological footprint while modeling conscientious ethical harvesting guidelines.
Alissa’s mentorship has reached tens of thousands of students worldwide through her international workshops and lectures and her no-cost public outreach platform of over 35,000 members. Her expertise is acknowledged in the book True Colors: World Masters of Natural Dyes and Pigments by K. Recker (2019), where she is recognized as a master of her craft. In 2022, she was honored to host the 19th International Fungi and Fiber Symposium in Port Townsend, WA.
Currently, Alissa is expanding her studies abroad. For the past three years, she has partnered with The Fungivore, extending her outreach to include traditional foraging and textile artisan villages in Oaxaca, Mexico, where she is as much a student as a teacher. She looks forward to offering programs on the island of Gran Canaria as part of the 21st International Fungi and Fiber Symposium in January 2025.

“When you act with reciprocity, exchanging gifts from the wild for community care of wild spaces, there is hope for a healthier planet.”