Wednesday, August 21- Sunday, August 25 2019

4 day retreat – $450 plus $100 Materials Fee – register below

Hand dyed and printed skirt

This rustic retreat includes 4 days to study surface design with Shanna Robinson and hand sewn garment making with me, Tina Bury.  We’ll work with natural dyes, block printing and hand sewing on organic cotton jersey.  

You’ll begin with 9 large 13″ x 13″ swatches of organic cotton jersey and you’ll spend two days playing with color and design.  You’ll dye them, over-dye them, clamp them and print them with your own hand-carved stamps.  Then you’ll take your favorite color/designs and transfer that onto your pattern pieces for your skirt or shirt/tunic.  Intertwined in that time, you’ll learn about hand sewing and garment fitting and construction.   You’ll learn about indigo vats, natural dye extracts, natural dye plant matter, mordants, fabric, stitches, garment sewing and fitting.  You’ll carve your own block prints and learn a bit about repeating patterns and color theory. 

You’ll leave with your 9 swatches (and ideas on what you can use them for) and a finished (or nearly so) skirt or shirt/tunic that was made by you.

All the Details


Black Squirrel Farm is a working farm located 5 miles south of Cheboygan, Michigan. We’ll gather daily (perhaps in the barn, or the house, or in the sunshine) to learn and explore hand sewing, natural dyes and surface design together. Meals will be held in cozy nooks throughout the gardens and yard. Walks in nature can be had in the blink of an eye.

Lodging and meals are not included in the registration price. However, you can camp at the farm for $10 (total for all four nights) and you can choose a meal plan if you wish. You can also stay elsewhere, make your own meals at your camp or eat out…your choice.


Camping on the Farm is available for only $10. This includes all 4 nights. (Wednesday-Sunday morning) This is rustic camping. There is a water spigot in the camping area along with a port-a-potty. Showers are available in three forms…a modern bathroom located in the farm’s guest apartment, a camping solar shower and an outdoor shower conveniently attached to my wee camper!

You can also find your own accommodations nearby. The Farm is located 5 miles south of Cheboygan, Michigan.

Skirt Sketches – planning


Meal Plans – light and fresh, Vegetarian meals handmade on the farm from food grown on the farm (primarily!)

Lunch only – $45
Includes 3 lunches (Thurs, Fri and Sat)

Full Meal Plan – $115
Includes 4 breakfasts (Thurs – Sun), 3 lunches (Thurs, Fri and Sat) and two dinners (Thurs and Fri).

*Saturday’s dinner is on your own, or you can join the group in going out to eat in Cheboygan

If you prefer to provide your own meals, you are welcome to do so. With a two hour lunch break, you can also take your meals in town.

Your registration fee includes snacks and coffee/tea during the day.


Shanna Robinson

Shanna will be teaching natural dyes and block printing.

“I have been making art from whatever material expresses my purpose for more than 30 years. Working in textiles, ceramics, sculpture and printmaking, I create a varied body of work connected by a love of the natural world.  I earned a MFA in textiles and am a Professor of Art at North Central Michigan College, where I teach art history, textiles and design.”

Some of Shanna’s work:
Tina Bury

Tina will be teaching hand sewing, garment fit and construction and introduction to fabric.

“While I am a maker of many things, I spend most of my time playing with textiles.  I have spent the last dozen years sewing garments.  As fit is pretty critical to my satisfaction with a finished garment, I’ve spent a lot of time working with pattern drafting/manipulation and fabric to achieve the fit and style I’m looking for.   This retreat will focus on hand sewing as it allows us to gather, learn, work on our projects and still engage in conversation without the hums of machinery.”

Some of Tina’s work…

Please Consider

The land that the retreat is on is uneven and rustic. The camping and meeting/dining spaces are an outdoor walk away from one another. Please consider your limitations as you make your plans.
The main meeting spaces are covered/enclosed but will be subject to the weather. While Michigan in August is pretty spectacular (avg high 74°/low 63°)…it’s generally nice and warm…we have to allow for the possibility of rain, bugs, cool weather or heat. Come prepared to walk in the rain, bring warm layers in case of cool mornings/evenings, and shed the layers for warm, humid days. In case of rain or unpleasant weather, there is a space we can gather in the main house.

Retreat Schedule


*Campers, arrive after 5pm, dinner on your own.

7:00 pm – Everyone – Welcome ceremony, tour of the place and Bonfire Gathering with Smores.

Thursday – Saturday

8-8:45am – Breakfast
9-noon – Class Time
noon-2pm – Lunch and free time
2-5pm – Class Time
5-6:30pm – Free time
6:30-7:30pm – Dinner
8pm – Evening event/activity (optional)


8-8:45am – Breakfast
9-11am – Class Time
11:00 – Group photo and closing circle

What to Bring

  • Headlamp or portable task lighting – we will hold class in the barn and the lighting may be variable
  • long gauntlet style gloves for dyeing
  • apron
  • old towels
  • sharpie marker
  • 18″ metal ruler
  • T pins
  • painters tape
  • water containers (quart yogurt containers, etc)
  • your hand sewing kit (optional)
  • fabric shears (optional)


$450 plus $100 Materials Fee

To register for the retreat, fill out the form below and pay the non-refundable $200 deposit. The balance of the retreat cost and materials fee is due by May 31st. After May 31st, the entire balance, plus materials fee, is due upon registering. If you have any questions…please feel free to contact me at

Additional Info

What’s included…

The retreat includes instruction and studio time in hand sewing, fabric, surface design {in particular natural dyes, block printing and some shibori}, garment fitting and garment construction. The majority of the 21 hours of class time will be spent working with natural dyes, making your own block to print your fabric and bringing everything together to create a unique fabric. You will leave with a finished (or nearly finished) skirt or tunic; hand sewn with organic fabric that was printed and designed by you and fit to your body. You will also leave with your design swatches and some ideas of what you can make from them. Snacks and coffee/tea will be provided daily. The Materials Fee covers all materials needed for the class.

Materials Fee Includes

  • 2 1/2 yards of Organic Cotton Jersey
  • Thread
  • Natural Dye Materials
  • Block Printing materials
  • Workbook – filed with the info we’ll be going over and several pages and templates for sketching your ideas and swatches.
  • Sewing Patterns – for both the skirt and the shirt/tunic
  • Goodie bag filled with needles, pins, notions and sweet surprises!


This is a four-day retreat and we are not able to offer any partial attendance. Thank you for your understanding.

*Cancellation Policy: Once paid, deposits are non-refundable. While there are no refunds on the rest of the retreat cost after May 31st, 2018, you can find another to take your place. We’ll do our best to help in this process. There are no exceptions. All requests for refunds must be received in writing before May 31st, 2018. In the case of acts of nature, disaster or unforeseen circumstances, Kinship Handwork reserves the right to reschedule this workshop. If Kinship Handwork cancels the workshop, all money paid will be returned.

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