Mushroom Dyeing Seminar

Mushroom Dyeing Seminar

Mycopigments Workshop
Exploration of mushroom and lichen dyes

Our instructor for the day was Alissa Allen. “Alissa has been experimenting with mushroom derived pigments and sharing her enthusiasm and experience with others for over 15 years. Raised by a forager in the Pacific Northwest, she has been a student of the natural world her entire life. She currently calls Massachusetts home but spends most of her time travelling; studying regional fungi, and teaching residents how to recognize and utilize their local mushroom dye palettes.”

Alissa and the many colors of mushroom dyes

We learned about mushroom safety, identification basics,habitats and ethical harvesting. There has been no evidence of a reaction from skin contact when dealing with mushrooms. There have been cases of people getting sick from poisoned mushrooms, so don’t eat the poisoned ones! 🙂 When harvesting mushrooms be sure to take the ones on the ground or on dying tree branches. You can harvest fungi from trees but not lichen because you would ruin their ecosystem.

Mushroom identification is a learned process, Alissa provided us with a brochure with colored pictures to help assist us with proper identification. She recommended joining Facebook groups such as the Mushroom Dyers Trading Post and visiting her website for more information.

Next up! Dyeing the mushrooms! We helped chopped up different mushrooms and lichen for the jars full of water.

Cortinarius Semisanguineus

You can now lower or raise the PH levels to cause different color variations, but not too high! Alissa also discussed how to use mordants in the dyeing process.

Recipe card examples

We were given some recipe cards and handouts for our future fungi dyeing experiments.
We were also able to dye some beautiful silk scarves to take home with us.

If you want to learn further information on mushroom dyeing, I would suggest taking one of Alissa’s very unique seminars!

Special thanks to Julie Saalsaa and her husband for opening up their farm for us!

Click on the pictures for more information

See you on the garden path!


On the road for Education

Herb/o/logy is on the road again always in search of learning how to make a better product for you!

Our quest has brought us to the Thorough Bred Center in Lexington Kentucky, where we met up with like minded individuals for a two day soapy convergence.

Day one 

On a beautiful Kentucky morning we learn from a pharmacists about her perspective of incorporating the natural into the medical.

Dr.Virginia Lemay precepts Doctor of Pharmacy students participating in community pharmacy-based clinical rotations at The University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy.
First up Lice!

Lice is transmitted from head to head and cannot stay off the source for more 24 hours. Some natural suggestions would be Tea Tree and Lavender Oil.

Next up Poison Ivy – some people are more susceptible then others if you are in that latter group it’s best to stay away by identification. Some natural Solution would be Apple Cider Vinegar, Oatmeal paste( to help with the itching) and of course the power house is Jewel weed!

Dry skin (eczema ) as we age we lose natural oils and also some medication including Diuretics can deplete the skins moisture and also with aging comes the thin skin. She then gave us some natural solutions that included Lemon balm tree and Comfrey for itchy skin even shingles.

Next up the always engaging Dr Kevin Dunn

Kevin Dunn is the Elliott Professor of Chemistry at Hampden-Sydney College. His book, Caveman Chemistry, brought him to the attention of handcrafted soap makers and because of this he has undertaken a series of research projects on the chemistry of handcrafted soap

The good doctor introduced us to the chemical compounds of soap. He explained the atomic processes of how soap is fused. He then talked various recipes to make glycerin melt and poor the natural way. As a side note did you know that cocaine is a as natural natural as Lavender?

Margaret Neff

Margaret is a retired special education teacher, from the farmlands of central Ohio.


Making and talking about Rice Milk Soap

We Learned all about making soap with different types of milk!

First up Rice Milk

Bring 1 cup of water and a 1/3 cup of rice to a boil cover and reduce to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Drain off excess water then transfer to a blender and add 2 cups warm water. Blend and add another cup of warm water, let sit for 30 minutes skin the top and strain

Voila Rice Milk!

Margaret talked about the different methods of using milk in the soaps.
Katie White “Duchess of Suds”of Royalty Soaps

Katie White began soap making when she took a class at her home school co-op in September 2010, her junior year in high school.


Katie demonstrating piping on cold process soap

Katie did a demo on soap pipping. She gave us a fabulous recipe to give us the extra time we need to pipe on soaps! First she started with a drop swirl. With some beautiful blues with a white batter. Then she did some creative pipping on top of the soap loaf!

Day 2

This day was dedicated to all demonstrations by the above mentioned speakers.


Me, Katie and my cupcake

We even decorated some cupcakes!

Glycerin Melt and pour anyone?


Teach and the Dr. demonstrating different ingredients for clear glycerin soap

And last but certainly not least our “teach” Cathy McGinnis talked about taking the very best product photos we can! She talked of using a white back round and using clear compelling images. Of course branding!

Cathy McGinnis Catherine’s you tube channel, Soaping101 is the most popular non-commercial channel for soap making tutorials. The style and know how she brings to her videos and the community is an extension of her genuineness. She considers soap making an industry where information should be freely shared and appreciated.


Teach and me

Special thanks to Cathy McGinnis for putting this wonderful educational event on for us to learn even more about our craft! You can find more about Cathy on

Thank you for coming on our journey for education!

See you on the garden path


Queen and Duchess of suds

Click on any of the pictures for more information on each speaker