Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A little bit of history

I am always being asked how I started, so I thought I would tell you (almost my life's history)

1981-3 - I studied textiles at art college, knitting was my speciality and I played with dyeing (both chemical and natural) or rather made a mess.

1986-9 - Made intarsia jumpers for my 2 baby girls

1990- 2004 - Made quilts/embroideries -The first quilt was for my brand new baby boy. I was rubbish at quilts, they started out as traditional ones, which quickly turned into art quilts and then slowly turned into embroideries.
I was a reasonably sucessful artist and have shown my art work all over the world (USA, South America, Europe & Dubai) as well as locally.

1997 - Started to dye my own fabric and embroidery threads, as I was poor I started to use hedgerow dyes - cow parsley, bracken, stinging nettles etc etc

2000 - Onwards - I started to use bought natural dyes that I couldn't pick. I only used (and still do) the real dyes, bits of wood, chopped roots etc I have never used extracts, in the beginning I couldn't afford them and they weren't available, now I think they are cheating and no where near as much fun - what better than to have a big vat of decomposing plant bits that when used will give the most beautiful colour in the world - :-)

2001 - Birth of The Natural Dye Studio, I started selling my fabric and threads on ebay, was amazed at the demand so quickly built my own website.

2003 - Started to dye wool, the sales exploded and I stopped dyeing fabric and threads and have never looked back. The Dye Studio has gone from strength to strength, is getting bigger every day and expanding into places I never dreamed of.

I think of it as some kind of wild animal dragging me along behind it and sometimes step back and am amazed at what it has become - :-)


Spinayarn said...

I am stunned by your quilts - not because you made them I hasten to add - but at their sheer beauty. I am a traditional hand piecer and quilter and couldnt do anything as creative as those!!!!

Doe said...

I know what you mean about the vat of boiling plant material. I've come back to natural dyeing (I first learnt and dyed all my handspun yarns in the late 80's)after a hiatus of 10 years (dyeing mostly with acid dyes)and I'd forgotten how magical the process is. Time consuming, unexpected results, amazing smells, totally engaging.
I dug out a baby blanket with natural dyed yarns now nearly 20 years old and the colours are still lovely.
Your yarns are beautiful and I'm in awe at the amount your studio produces per week.

picperfic said...

what a beautiful story of how your shop evolved from a tiny acorn into the store we know and love right now. Congratulations on it's growing success!

maylin said...

Thanks for sharing, it is lovely to read of a vocation achieved. I am hoping to try mushroom dyeing this autumn - its a new world for me so should be interesting.