Working with natural dyes is a conscious decision to be more ecological in my practice. I use prepared extracts and also grow plant materials, which I process into dye. Each method requires several steps of preparation before steeping the fabric in plant color. To achieve even richer color and painterly markings, fabrics are dipped into a vat of blue indigo.
I employ the careful practice of stitch resist to create line and shape. This stitching process allows me the stillness to meditate on the metaphorical aspects of the work, which are comprised of both control and chance. By manipulating fabric with natural dyes, shibori, screen-printing, drawing and piecing, I collaborate with the cloth to create oneof-a-kind contemporary textiles.
In May 2014, I was privileged to live and work in a pre-famine stone cottage for two weeks in a remote, secluded artist residency on the west coast of Ireland. Detached from the usual world of telephone and internet, I soaked myself in this exceptional, rugged natural environment of Cill Rialaig, recording my response to it with watercolor.
Since returning to my own studio, the experience has remained deeply influential. Ive incorporated my embrace of the Irish landscape along with other presiding influences, such as historic textiles, into my current practice of natural dyeing on linen.