Surface Design Exploration

Final skirt – hand carved, repeating block print over subtle shibori natural dye

I’m a maker.  It’s in my soul.  Making gives my everyday life deeper meaning.  While I love making clothes, I’m not always in love with the patterns or colors or types of fabric that are available.  Using materials that are gentle on both the planet and people is a value of mine but that limits my choices.  That aside, making my own clothes truly allows me to own how I show up in the world.  It seems natural that my next steps in this journey are to naturally dye and print my own fabrics. 

There’s something giddily, exhilarating about clothing myself with all of that intention and meaning.   

This summer I devoted some time to playing with natural dyes, shibori designs and block printing on organic jersey.   Several moons ago, I shared my natural dye experiments.  After dyeing my fabric, I began carving and experimenting with block printing.  

It was a process.  I went from disliking my hand-carved stamp and my choice of repeating patterns, to boom…falling in love.   The changes I made that took me from loathing my fabric to loving my fabric were slight…I thinned out the lines on my block and simplified it by removing the inner design and that, magically, was enough to transform it.

Block Printing Journey

The power of slight change to completely alter a situation is always a revelation for me.   Much to my chagrin, I tend to make wide sweeping changes in the face of discomfort, dislike, disharmony.

Several years ago, the book “First You Have to Row a Little Boat” (by Richard Bode) imprinted on me.  One of the chapters is about not correcting the course of your vessel just because, far in the distance, you see another vessel, perhaps a larger one, on the same trajectory as you.  Correcting your vessel too soon is likely to take considerable more energy and be unnecessary in the end as that boat…the one way out there…is likely not in your path.    Now, I think the author was referring more to the idea of not trying to correct for or predict the future, but to stay present and adjust in minor ways as the need arises, but this story has always come to mind when I experience how effective slight change is at relieving pressure, opening up joy, allowing you to love a thing.   Now, if this could become my automatic answer for challenges…that would be something!