New Workshop! Discovering the Secrets of Turkey Red




Turkey Red is the name of a distinctive, clear bright red on cotton fabric very different from the brick and warm reds that we normally achieve with madder on cellulose fibers. The color which was also called rouge d’Andrinople or roug de Turc, employed many steps and many weeks to dye the brilliant coveted shade, which possesses the brilliance and glow of a rich cochineal red, but on cotton instead of wool.  Mystery ingredients such as rancid olive oil, camel dung, chalk and lye and sometimes blood as well as stoving and a lot of muttering contributed to the allure of this historical color.

Jim Liles writes:

“The very best, fastest (meaning light and washfast, not rapid) and most sought-after red on cotton and linen …was Turkey Red. ..The process was much more complicated than that for simple madder red.  It originally involved some thirteen to twenty tricky steps to be executed over a three-to four-month period…So intricate was the process that it took literally every country in Europe 150 years to steal away and master this ‘Oriental’ technique…The color has been variously described as a soft blue-red with inner glowing fire and with shades from somber to luminescent.”

Now we have the opportunity to dye Turkey Red with Debbie Bamford, an experienced British historical dyer and create this complex color for ourselves. Debbie and her husband John will lead the online class through the steps to make Turkey Red over a period of 5 days, February 24-28. We will be working with materials furnished by her company and work in our home studios to dye the color. The materials will have various treatments so that we can advance from step to step and there will be enough material to repeat the process on your own.

Join us to experience the mystery of this amazing and complex shade.  I’ve always wanted to learn more about Turkey Red, and very excited for the opportunity!

Workshop details

  • Workshop will be taught over Zoom and will run from 8AM-1PM (Pacific) February 24-28.
  • Debbie and Botanical Colors will provide madder dyestuffs and prepared fabrics for dyeing.  You will need a basic dye setup and information will be sent after registration.
  • It is possible to pay for the workshop in installments.  Please contact Sienna at [email protected]
  • We will have a dedicated TA and moderator for the class.
  • Debbie and John will regale us with her stories about being a medieval and historical dyer in the 21st century.
  • International students:  it is possible to attend this class.  Please contact [email protected] for more details.

Additional information

Weight 900 g
Dimensions 10 × 6 × 4 in


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