Cloth has historical roots and ethnic flavors that excite me. My lifelong appreciation and love of handmade textiles motivated me to explore historical and contemporary methods for embellishing cloth. For as long as humans have worn cloth, we have looked for ways to make them aesthetically beautiful.
My inherent curiosity and love for learning set me on a path to study under some top international artists. My most recent adventure involved traveling to Japan to explore their centuries old textile traditions and studying the art of Shibori, which involves folding and binding fabric to create resists, resulting in intricate patterns and textures when dyed. Witnessing their culture, learning the history, practicing the art, and meeting local artisans was one of the highlights of my life. Although I practiced Shibori before going to Japan, it is now cemented in my designs. It would take a lifetime to learn and master yet a fraction of these methods.
Once I became intrigued by the effects of eco printing actual pigments from leaves and flowers onto cloth, my love for natural dyes evolved and are now reflected in my contemporary interpretations. Natural dyes combined with the unpredictable nature of eco printing leaves and flowers produce striking botanical prints that often offer surprises when plant pigments are transferred to fabric via direct contact and heat. Because many variables affect the outcome of natural dyes, knowledge of their use was starting to be lost as modern commercial dyes were invented. Whereas modern mass-produced textiles require the consistency of commercial dyes, natural dyes are perfect for creating one of a kind pieces for artists. Although I use other professional artist dyes as well, I fell in love with the historical nature and complexities of natural dyes and continue to experiment in my work with the gorgeous color palette only nature can produce.
My enthusiasm for learning also brought me to a local polymer clay guild meeting, where I soon discovered how versatile clay can be. It allowed me to create unique one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces that are complementary to my fiber work. I offer a line of polymer clay magnetic scarf brooches and other jewelry, which perfectly accents my hand dyed wearable fiber. An emphasis on color, textures and patterns can be found throughout my work.
Once the natural fiber fabrics are prepared for dye, two prevalent methods of dying are used:
Eco-Printing is a direct contact printing technique. After collecting many of the leaves in my own garden, the pigments in the plants are transferred to fabric with direct contact and heat. Colors and effects vary based on many variables including the stage of the leaf growth and how the fabric is prepared. The unpredictable nature of eco-printing ensures each piece is truly an original.
Shibori, is an ancient Japanese art of shaping cloth to create resists which results in beautiful patterns and textures. My modern and traditional shibori patterns are created by hand stitching, folding, or binding the fabric after it has been prepared to dye.
Polymer Clay Jewelry Process:
Polymer Clay is used to create unique patterned veneers via an endless array of techniques before making the jewelry components. Pieces are built in stages and cured in between which bonds the clay into a solid piece. They are finished by sanding and polishing before making them into completed jewelry.