Summer 2020 courses near Prayssas (47) France

Many students in the past have asked if there will be residential TexAtelier courses so I can now announce that am really excited to be teaming up with ‘Gertrude and Friends’ next Summer 2020 in the S.W. of France for four seven-day courses.

le pecile

The venue is an exquisite luxuriously restored 18th century château with 15th century outbuildings set in organic farmland with beautiful accommodation for up to 8 students. There are sun terraces for relaxing, a yoga room in the orangery and a superb saltwater pool. There is a light and spacious purpose built studio where the courses will take place, and will be available for students to use from 9am until 10pm each day. The delicious homemade food provided will be regional and sourced from the local market and where possible organic and there will be trips out to the nearby gourmand night market and to a fabulous quirky brocante. This is your chance to fully recharge your batteries and create some amazing bespoke textile pieces and meet new people with a common passion for Textiles

The whole experience will immerse you into the regional life of beautiful Aquitaine a part of France renowned for it’s outstanding natural beauty, gourmet food and extraordinary bastides.

The Chateau is near Prayssas – France 47.

The courses I am teaching are entitled.

  • 1. ‘Magical blue and Gold’ indigo, shibori and rust dyeing, you will be creating an individual beautiful Japanese kimono style jacket, samples and scarves.
    12th-18th May and 23rd- 29th July 2020
  • 2.’Inspired by the Baobab’ surface pattern and design using basic printmaking and hand-painting techniques, You will be creating exquisite personal samples,scarves and a full cloth length for use in quilting, making garments or interiors.
    20th-26th May 2020
  • 3.’Playing with Nature’s Colours’ natural dyeing with plant colours and mordants and eco printing and rust on paper and cloth. You will create an individual dye recipe book, fabulous unique scarves, samples, gift cards, homemade books, bespoke gifts and fabric lengths.
    15th-21st July 2020

Courses will be taught in English with possible French tuition.

During the week you will be provided with course tuition, materials, accomodation, 3 meals a day (including a 3 course dinner with wine) use of salt water pool and yoga room.

A: Single occupancy Superior double bedroom, en suite      € 2,300

B: Shared occupancy Superior double bedroom, en suite    € 1,900

C: Single occupancy of Twin bedroom, shared bathroom    € 1,800

D: Shared occupancy of Twin bedroom, shared bathroom  € 1,400

E. Non-participant (sharing room with course participant)   € 950

To secure your booking, please pay a  € 400  non-refundable deposit, the full balance being payable 2 months prior to the start of the course

With , Full board and accommodation, all materials and local ‘pickups’ included.

Contact us to reserve a place

NB: some details may be subject to change.

I am sending this out on a first come first served basis so if you would like to book a place on any of the courses or need more information you can use the ‘contact us’ option on the top menu.

I am expecting a lot of interest in these courses held in this historic and amazing place so book early to avoid disappointment.


New Spring Eco Dyeing Courses from Nikola Orpen in UK. Dorset, Suffolk and Oxfordshire. March/April 2019

Eco Colour on Cloth – UK Tour 2019

Three weekends of Eco Textile Workshops with Nikola Orpen M.A.

Sat & Sun 23/24 March 2019 Chapel in the Garden – Bridport 

Sat & Sun 30/31 March 2019 Mettingham Village Hall – Suffolk

Sat & Sun 6/7 April 2019 St. James Centre, Stonesfield (near Witney and Woodstock) and “Hillcrest”, Islip road, Bletchingdon, OX 53DP


Day one
Indigo and Shibori (Japanese resist)
Students will learn how to make up an ORGANIC INDIGO SUGAR VAT (no
nasty chemicals) and using Japanese shibori techniques will create
exquisite and unique samples on cloth.

eco colour on cloth image email

Day two
A day of Eco Printing using flowers and leaves.
Students will learn how to make beautiful prints and patterns on cloth
and paper by capturing colours directly from nature using contact
printing and steam.
There will also be an opportunity to purchase some ‘special’ cloth
and plain silk scarves to dyes.
Please bring an apron, rubber gloves, fabric scissors, notebook and
pen and any special (not synthetic) yarns or cloth of a neutral colour
that you may like to use.
Refreshments are provided all day, please bring something for lunch to share.

It is not necessary to attend both days but will be more
fulfilling if you do. Both courses are suitable for all levels.
A reservation is necessary as courses tend to book up quickly.
For more information and to secure your place with a £20 deposit per
day please ** email me** Nikola

Living colour on cloth 2019 UK Tour

I am happy to announce that my recent UK tour of Living Colour on
Cloth, went really well.
All the participants in workshops achieved some stunning results using
Eco Printing and shibori resist with Indigo. It is always so good to
meet and work with new people and hear their stories too.
I am planning to hold some more UKworkshops in the Autumn, details to follow.

Bull Dog Clip Shibori

follow on instagram
and our specific Texatelier Facebook

The Oxfordshire group April 2019
eco dyeing
Eco Dyeing Bundles
Shibori twists

What you paid for: My African accomplishments


By public subscription, your subscriptions, I have completed my three months of voluntary service in Ghana.

Thanks to your generous support for my ‘Out to Africa’ and ‘FaceBook musical challenge’ appeals, much, much, much … has been accomplished. I want to share it here with you and let you all know what you have really contributed to, for it wasn’t ‘me’, it was for the hope and direct development of real people with real fear and loathings …. real need and, in the end: real gratitude, that I am asked to pass on.



I’m going to lay it out as a simple list for ease of speedy reading – I’ll follow up with some pictures and minuté in later blogs.

As an overarching instrument I created a named initiative under the ‘INCOME’ and ‘Procom’ projects of the Ghanian NGO TradeAid, namely: “Procom Organic Vegetable Initiative” (POVI)

My role and aims were to educate and assist local farmers into organic farming methods and transitions ; the main reasons, simply stated,

  • increase income, and thus abrogate poverty
  • desist in detrimental and polluting activities with over use of costly synthetic farming chemicals


In three months I have, (but not without assistance):

  • set up two small test farms
  • conducted more than 20 ‘Farmer Field-school’ trainings – reaching four separate communities, thereby touching up-to 100 farming families, possibly as many as 400-450 individuals by DIRECT INTERVENTION.Delivery of key components by practical demonstration:
  • Natural and ‘fast’ composting methodologies
  • large volume composting pit methods
  • soil building
  • crop-specific compost and soil adjustment
  • non-chemical integrated pest management and
  • natural liquid pesticide manufacture and application
  • design, overseeing and monitoring of 6 large scale, triple pit composting chambers for the manufacture of up-to 3.000 liters per chamber-set per season of mature compost
  • manufacture of three free-standing compost ‘cubes’
  • membership and contribution to CAOF, an upper-east region organic farming coalition
  • production and sharing of more than 25 self-penned locally-aimed illustrated training documents, with the commencement of some translated into local dialect and language
  • networking
  • outreach and community liaison
  • 4 detailed training films
  • all work photographically and film recorded and shared
  • creation of ‘dropboxes’ and web-sites and facebook pageshot berkley compost pile

POVI farmers are: Anti Agri-Chem, Anti poison and Pollution, we are: ‘Forward and Towards Organacism’

Towards a cleaner, healthier, more valuable, non-polluting cropping methodology

Towards greater soil health, fertility and productivity

Towards a new ‘ethical’, sustainable farming practice

Towards a more fullfilling working practice for jobbing farmers

Towards greater and better quality yields for enhanced income, therefore: greater food security and decresed poverty for farming families.


Unlike some African countries Ghana does not have a particularly aggressive road-side sales culture. Then one meets the irresistible Melody whose charms had me smock-wearing in about 2 seconds, fully documented and the live-fed on FaceBook, to prove it.

I did look as good as she claimed in the traditional Ghanaian smock, but I didn’t buy. She was fine.


The real find of the day was in fact new friend Melody – She’s a real blast!

More Compost/Less Agri-Chems

hot berkley compost pile

Another demonstration of 1 cubic meter of fast compost (30 days then ready for application)

I am encouraging these to be built everywhere as free-standing, readily available soil nutrition. The farmers are being taught to make them, and the take-up for the training is most frequently the women, who make them fast – 2 hours tops.

This is a ‘direct-action, lightening-strike’ intervention that has captured the imagination … compost can do that!


In some of the villages and farming communities that I am working with, we have constructed 6, three ‘tank’ , deep compost-pits from block work.  Each chamber will hold upto 1,000L of finished compost – but compost that is a year in the making and maturing.

With the two types of compost generation we will be able to sustain huge annual land coverage and soil-building.

They call me ‘Compost-Man’ – I say fine …. but shouldn’t that be MR. Compost-Man?

Soil-regeneration by compost = Greater fertility, Higher yields, Decreased plant disease, Enhanced water-retention, Erosion eradication and Pollution abrogation … Where’s the down-side?

The Field-School Trainings continue: NPK ….

It’s all very well to get farmers, who didn’t really know how in the first place, to make all-organic general compost from the ‘wastes’ of their harvests and land clearing …. but to to transfer the fine-tunings of NPK, (Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium), took some very complex translation into Fra-Fra and, as such … one hell of a long afternoon!

Sean and Asuah