Last summer, I visited Zagorohoria in the North of Greece. There, I met Lena, who owns Rokka Guesthouse and knows so much about Greek wool, traditional Greek natural dyeing and weaving. With Lena we decided to organise a textile retreat for the upcoming October. We stayed at Lena's guesthouse for three days and everyday we did natural dyeing workshops (using plants found in the mountains of Zagori), went on hikes around the area, learnt about the history of the area from Lena and also did a cooking class with Mrs Katina, Lena's mother in law. We are planning on doing more workshops in Spring and Summer so if you are interested, subscribe to our newsletter!
On the first day, when everyone arrived, we had lunch at the guesthouse in Elafotopos. Afterwards, Lena spoke to us about the area, its history, the Pokari Project and Greek Wool.That afternoon, we held the batik workshop where the attendees batiked on cotton, silk and linen fabrics and then batiked a tote bag as their final piece.
In the early morning of the retreat’s second day, we went on a long hike around the villages of Zagorohoria, where we collected some plants for natural dyeing. We then had lunch in a small village called Koukouli.
Back at the guesthouse, Christiana spoke to the students about the theory of natural dyeing. She explained the process of dyeing and what fabrics can be used for natural dyeing as well as about mordants. We mordanted all of our fabrics, to have them ready for the next day and also prepared all the dye vats.
On the last day, we held the natural dyeing workshop where we made all the natural dyes. We dyed all of our samples (linen, cotton and silk) and created a palette of yellows, oranges, pinks, purples, greens, browns and greys.
We did a special madder roots workshop, playing with the pH levels, in order to change the hues and tones, creating red, pink, coral, dirty pink, beige and orange with only one plant.
We also did a special tie-dye and shibori workshop. We dyed the batiks, all the samples and the batik tote bag that the students had batiked on the first day.
The last activity of the retreat was a cooking class with Mrs. Katina, who showed us how to make traditional filo pastry and dolmadakia. Dinner was made by all of us together!
We will be organising more retreats later in the year, so if you are interested please make sure to subscribe to our newsletter!