Folk Fibers Blog / folklore

  • Natural Dyes - Pomegranates

    Natural fibers dyed with pomegranates harvested in Austin, Texas above: no mordant--pure and earthy  below: alum pre-mordant brightens colors creating yellow tones Steeped in history and romance pomegranates have long been cultivated, they're even biblical. I find myself lucky to be living in a place they grow prolifically, they're packed with usefulness and in my case a botanical dye. Overall the pomegranate is an attractive shrub or small tree and is more or less spiny, and extremely long-lived. The fruit is widely praised for the juice, but I'm after the brilliant dye properties great for coloring textiles. The dye properties are found in both the rind...

    Read more →
  • Natural Dyes - Harvesting Osage Orange

    Ah at last, my eyes gaze at the source, as my fingers wipe away the fresh yellow-orange sawdust I feel connected, truly connected to the source of the golden color hidden in the heartwood of the Osage Orange tree. The bois d'arc tree, commonly called Osage Orange is a small deciduous tree. Even though it's name implies, It is not related to the Orange tree, it's an American relative to the Mulberry Tree. Osage Orange occurred historically in the Red River drainage of Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas and in the Blackland Prairies, Post Oak Savannas, and Chisos Mountains of Texas. It has been widely naturalized in the United States and Ontario.  Historically the wood was being used for war clubs and bow-making by Native Americans.  It's popular because...

    Read more →
  • Quilts for Terrain

    Maura with Quilts, photo by Wynn Myers A batch of 5 quilts created exclusively for Terrain.  I drew inspiration from colors found in the natural world, made only with insects, minerals, and plants. The naturally dyed fabrics were patch worked with vintage scraps and unbleached cotton. The results of these efforts are heirloom-quality pieces, each one unique, timeless, and beautiful. All of the textile colors are found in nature and work beautifully together.  Inspired by traditional pioneer quilt blocks that evolved durring the mid-1800's when pioneers began migrating to the west coast. The pioneers endured hardships of hostile terrain. Women provided the strength and reason to endure. Their determination to meet...

    Read more →
  • Our Hand Quilting Community

    Meet the Folk Fibers hand quilting community! From the left: Monica, Juliet, myself, and Mercedes March of this year I reached a point in my studio work that I needed assistance with the hand quilting process of my quilt making. A step that I was not ready to take years ago when I first had the idea to start a quilting business. This year was different, I was now ready. I started by simply placing an add on Craigslist, seeking the help I needed. It began through a process of emails and then meeting individually at a coffee house. Since...

    Read more →
  • Natural Dyes - Yellow Onion Skins

    Yellow onion skins create a golden range of earthy colors. With a concentrated dye bath and enough time for the fibers to soak, the colors achieved are a combination of red and yellow, usually resting in the middle as an orange. The results radiate warmth and happiness, combining the physical energy and stimulation of red with the cheerfulness of yellow. Protein fibers such as wool and silk, dye deep to medium shades of ochre, creating pigments in the cadmium-orange families. Referencing sienna, burnt orange, pumpkins, terra cotta, and rust. Cellulose fibers such as cotton, hemp, and bamboo dye a range of dark orange to a lighter orange peel, having deep notes of golden-yellow or...

    Read more →
  • Nui Shibori: Stitch Resist

      I made this stitched resist rabbit many years ago, but I still love it so. Nui shibori includes stitched shibori. A simple running stitch is used on the cloth then pulled tight to gather the cloth before submerging in a dye pot. Stitching affords flexibility and control to create designs of great variety, delicate or bold, simple or complex, pictorial or abstract. This technique allows for greater control of the pattern and greater variety of pattern, but it is much more time consuming.  mokume shibori also known as woodgrain

    Read more →
  • Natural Dye Workshop

    I understand where I am coming from; taking the talent and potential I was born with, and have since developed, now using it fully toward a goal and purpose that makes me and those around me happy.  A couple months before we moved to Austin, Chap and I came here for a week to secure a place to live and seek employment. I prepared for this visit by applying to a position as an Assistant Kindergarden Teacher at the Austin Waldorf School. After a few phone calls it became clear that the school decided to hire internally, but the conversation didn't...

    Read more →
  • The Spirit Piece

    In quilting folklore "humility blocks" are often mentioned; an out of place color or odd placement in the patchwork design is an interpreted idea that since only God is perfect than making a perfect quilt is prideful. The opinions are divided if humility blocks are intentional mistakes as an exercise in Biblical decorum, or happy accidents. Quilt historians who have researched the origins of the humility block legend sum it up as a myth. The idea probably got started when people noticed an odd placement of a fabric piece or a change in color and wondered whether it was done on purpose; when infact...

    Read more →