September 24, 2021

I play as part of my design process

People often wonder why I painted such a small piece of fabric in different colors and what I did with it all. In fact, in many cases, I thought of quilt making as a hobby. The truth is, I just love to dye fabric pieces and long strands with different plants. Practicing is part of my process, and I discover many new things through this kind of game.

I keep my small painted fabric squares in labeled envelopes and enjoy arranging the colors in different combinations to appreciate the subtle nuances. Even the most “boring” color has different sub-tones and is beautiful in itself.

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{colors from alder cones, mahogany cones and hawthorn leaves)

Not only is playing with fabric a meditative process, but it also helps me develop new ideas for when I dye bigger textiles. Lately, I’ve been painting a two-tone scarf and using my patterns to visualize my thoughts before I start painting longer pieces. Experience helps to avoid unexpected surprises and mistakes. Although the result of a plant is a little different each time, I feel more confident if I try it once on a smaller piece.

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After painting with a new plant, I like to compare the color with other patterns in my small library. Plant dyes vary from season to season and from place to place according to different water and growing conditions of plants. I always like to paint when I’m outside to compare the colors of my favorite plants.

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{Colors from St. John’s Wort flowers ~ Hypericum Calycinum}

Painting pieces of fabric is probably like artists mixing paints and doing color research. I really enjoy the color preparation process. I’ve never been very fond of painting, but I love to discover color by making plant dyes. In fact, I think I enjoy the process of making colors more than making a final product like a scarf. This is what allows me write my e-book; I just really enjoy the process.

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Dye Experiments
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