Tell us a little about your background.
I grew up in New York city where my first love of nature came from being fascinated with how despite her concrete cages, she would always find her way through the cracks. I went to university in London at the Chelsea College of Art and Design where I studied textiles and first came in contact with natural dyes through a workshop in my final year. After discovering the magic I dedicated my thesis to the profession and haven’t looked back since.
What drew you to floral dyeing?
When I began natural dyeing, I immersed myself in all the books I could find on the topic. In doing so I came across India Flint’s Eco Colour. I tried every one of her techniques and was transfixed by bundle dyeing. Since I didn’t have a garden in London where I could grow my own flowers, I was forced to get creative and use food wastes from the scraps of my own food. I began also experimenting with leftover flowers — I’d dye anything I could get my hands on.
Have any favorite flowers or plant materials to use for dyeing?
They change with the seasons. Currently I am loving peonies. The range of color and patterns you can create with them are astonishing. I love experimenting with different salts and tannins. The beauty of natural dyes are that with one dye stuff you can achieve a rainbow of color.
What do you like about working with natural materials and what are some challenges?
There’s a certain sense of calm and mediative peace I have when working with natural materials. The alchemy of the practice was what initially drew me in. Admittedly, I’ve always been a bit “away with the fairies”, my head always in the clouds, easily transfixed by materials and their potential magical properties. I’m fascinated by how just one dye stuff has a multitude of purposes and applications. Whether it be to create color, promote healing, or become compost, the holistic element of using a natural material and aiding it through its many transmutations is what I love most. I find the challenges are also what I love most about the practice. We can’t control nature but can act as conduits of her will. Embracing this fact and what are the process’s perceived imperfections are what I love most about the practice. There are many variations that can come with creating a color from just one dye stuff, ranging from the soil it’s grown in, to the pH balance of the water, to the heat. All of these variables can cause drastic changes in color, so it’s very important to take detailed notes. But this also allows for each piece to be completely unique.
You source all your materials ethically. What are some tips for finding fabric and florals?
It is of the utmost importance to know where your fabrics come from. Buying organic when possible is ideal. I also try to work with fair-trade certified providers. For flowers, buying organic and in-season is also important. I also work with florists to collect their leftovers from weddings, which would typically be chucked in the bin. This helps intercept a waste stream that if not composted would unnecessarily become landfill. I would recommend supporting your local farmers’ markets for flowers, using your leftover food scraps and and buying fabrics from places like Organic Cotton Plus.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
My aesthetic changes as drastically as the seasons. Once a friend described me as a dominatrix astronaut. Currently I think I’m moving through an Edwardian-vintage-mixed-with-minimal-bold-shapes moment.
Tell us about your commitment to sustainability.
Sustainability is the guiding force behind our work. Creating industries and the fashion industry can be detrimentally consumptive and polluting forces, so I believe when entering the marketplace, the pieces you put out must also give back. Creating responsibly is the only way we can help to heal our planet.
What’s inspiring you currently?
Nobuyoshi Araki flower photographs, gauzy peace silks, Eugène Delacroix botanical drawings, The David Hicks Book of Flower Arranging, creating floral watercolors, self-imposed grids, rusting metals, Merce Cunningham, Agnes Martin… I could keep going…
What are some of the dyeing techniques you use in your work?
I work with designers to curate different techniques for their needs, based on their inspirations. A few include bundle dyeing, hand painting, hot immersion, shibori, rust dyeing and ombre dyeing.
What do you swoon most about your creative journey?
The happy randomness and magical mess I can create. The healing properties I find in color and the creative energy flow from seed to garment.
What’s on the horizon in your career?
Currently I am dyeing for designers and artists and working on my intimates label, Calyx, which I will show this September. Soon to come will be limited-edition homewares as well as art objects. I am also exploring the connection of color and healing and how natural dyes can play a role in art therapy. Stay tuned for more collaborations!