All my pieces start with white, natural fiber cloth that go through multiple dye processes to create depth, texture, complexity, character, and interest. Designs are built by layering one technique over another, selectively adding and removing dye. The many techniques include screen printing, stamping, immersion dyeing, Shibori (Japanese resist dyeing), hand painting, and more. Different dye types are used at each stage, depending on the desired result. Choice of color palette is a critical element. Often, it is the colors that invite initial attention to a piece. Each technique has its own character. Each dye has its own capabilities and limitations. Each fabric responds in its own way to both techniques and dyes. And each color choice changes the nature of the garment.
Sometimes the cloth leads me to the design, sometimes the design leads me to the choice of cloth, and sometimes the ultimate garment leads the whole process. In each case, it is an intuitive process rather than one of intent.
I began my journey to garment creation with sewing; actually with helping my mother run the treadle on our old Singer. My skills grew from designing and hand sewing doll clothes to creating my entire wardrobe by age 12. Through the years, I refined my sewing skills with couture techniques. By college, I wanted to create my own cloth, so I took up weaving and bought a loom. A few years back, just on a lark, I took a silk painting class. I’ve never looked back. I replaced my loom with a dye studio and took intensive classes in dye techniques. Now, I work to make “2-D” cloth into 3-D forms that adorn the body. The woman who wears the garment is the final element of each piece. Only then is the work of art complete.