Natural Dye Intensive Workshop by Visiting Artist Lavanya Mani

A Four Day Natural Dye Intensive by Visiting Artist Lavanya Mani

Online Registration Form

Date and times:

  • Thursday, October 13, 6:00-9:00 pm
  • Friday, October 14, 6:00-9:00 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday, October 15-16, 9:00 am-4:00 pm


  • General Public, $250.00
  • Friends of the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery, $210.00
  • Students/UNL Staff, $210.00

Room 21 Home Economics Building


            This workshop offers a hands-on exploration of the traditional techniques of kalamkari and block printing and their contemporary adaptation as studio practices.  Kalamkari is a traditional Indian drawing, printing and dyeing process that was once known famously as the basis of what we call "chintz." Lavanya Mani will discuss how kalamkari  was made traditionally and how it can be adapted for studio practice today. The workshop will combine lecture, demonstrations, and individual student application of the process.

            Lavanya Mani is a textile artist based in the city of Baroda in Gujarat state, India. Mani works with textiles and natural dyes incorporating traditional dyeing and printing, hand and machine embroidery, appliqué, and cyanotype processes. Kalamkari, with its similarity to painting, is an essential element of her process. Her work has been shown in museum exhibitions includiing 'The Fabric of India' at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2015,  and the Kochi Muziris Biennale at Aspinwall House in Fort Kochi, Kerala state, India in 2014.

Image (R): Detail of Lavanya Mani's three panel installation piece titled Traveller's Tales. Natural dye and hand painted with mordants on cotton and cyanotype on cotton. 

Image (L): “Feedback Loop.” Natural dye and embroidery on cotton.

Ms. Mani's workshop at UNL, presented under the auspices of the Nebraska Fiberarts Initiative, a program of the Department of Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design, will discuss key steps in the process and explain their importance.  Mani will introduce participants to the procedures and techniques of preparing the fabric to receive the dye, beginning with fabric selection and moving on to the scouring process, and pre-treating the fabrics with mordants. Students will create a booklet with illustrations of each step so that they can annotate it as Lavanya demonstrates and discusses the various stages. In addition to making a record of each step of the process, students will make their own original work based on their own drawings or from a selection of images of traditional designs that the artist will provide. The artist will spotlight the critical steps in the sequence of mordanting, dyeing, washing, re-mordanting and dyeing yet again, to provide participants with a solid background in this ancient process.

            Ms. Mani will bring traditional dye and mordant ingredients from India especially for the workshop. These are also now available in the USA from a variety of vendors. Students will learn how to draw the black outline, a hallmark of kalamkari, using a solution made of iron and jaggery (sugar). Students will experience how various mordants affect the dye's color, and they will create their own shade cards to show these variations of different dye and mordant combinations.

            Nebraska Fiberarts Initiative's mission is to provide engagement and outreach in textile design and creative arts to the citizens of Nebraska and the students of the University of Nebraska. This initiative addresses a gap in the public education offerings in the area of textile design and responds to a resurgence of interest in the textile arts. The Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design is an excellent resource for this initiative because it already houses the space and equipment necessary for a wide range of offerings. The public is familiar with the East Campus Facilities because of the strength of 4-H programming, the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery, and the history of textile design as part of the curriculum.

            Support for the NRI's programs has been provided in part by grants from the Pearle Francis Finigan Foundation, the Friends of the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery, and the department.

To register for the workshop please visit:

For information or questions regarding registering for the workshop contact the Department of Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design at 402-472-2911, or by email:

For questions regarding the workshop program, please contact Wendy Weiss, TMFD Professor Emerita, at

Online Registration Form