Folk Fibers Blog / organic

  • 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...

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  • Natural Dyes - Wild Mushrooms

    This was my first experience obtaining color from mushrooms. I have a growing interest in mushroom hunting, so it was only a matter of time the lore of natural color would guide me to collecting them for dyes. This past August I stumbled upon a perfect wet wooded breeding ground for a variety of wild mushrooms. I used rubber gloves to carefully harvest all the mushrooms found on the waterfront of my parents lake house near the Virginia/North Carolina border. Warning, some mushrooms are extremely poisonous, and even after dye and washing, the fabric can still hold dangerous properties that could irritate skin. Stay safe...

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  • Inspired by Antarctica

      My friend Murphy and I have been discussing a custom quilt inspired by the landscape of Antarctica. Murphy is currently on a 7 week expedition with Photographer Diane Tuft to document areas of Antarctica with a Nation Science Foundation grant. She created a blog where she shares photos of the icy landscape and details about extreme winter weather survival, as well as geographical information. In her blog she mentioned, "There are so many scientists here doing some incredible things! Some studies include : atmosphere, snowflakes, lake coreing, sea urchins, ice diving, seal tracking, penguin studies, and more." What an honor for her and...

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  • Quilts That Fly in October

      These are my latest quilts using naturally dyed fabrics and hand quilted with the help of my friends Juliette, Monica, and Mercedes. I have gathered inspiration for these quilt patterns from traditional American quilts, singling out a quilt block and creating it on a large scale is reminisent of barn quilts. The colors in these quilts are all acheived using natural dyes such as onion skins, walnut hulls, madder root, osage orange wood, and natural indigo.  

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  • Song of a People

    Christina, Juliet, Me, Ruby Ku, Melba, Chiane, and Ryan took the photo!   Today a group of friends helped me tame my over grown indigo garden. It felt great to have the helping hands but it felt even better to be comfortable asking for the help I needed. It was a step in the direction I'm headed with Folk Fibers. I have been moved by the interest and request to teach and share the craft of gardening, natural dyes and quilt making. This positive energy is playing a part in my development and vision for the future, and I strive to offer more workshops and...

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  • My Indigo Journey Begins

    "Don't rush,­ life is long and there's no race to be the first to do anything with indigo,­ it's all been done for thousands of years. The big question is how do you make it your own, and that takes years and years." -Rowland Ricketts This year I have immersed myself in learning first-hand the age-old-traditions of growing, dying, and processing Indigo. Due to my years of experience in working on organic vegetable farms, I was able to start confident and strong with growing and harvesting Indigo; but then came the question of how to process indigo, meaning getting color from the plant onto fabric?...

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  • guided by hunger

    We drove out to Sonoma Valley... guided by our hunger to explore our surroundings, and our desire to eat at the Fremont Diner. As we got further away from the Bay and closer to the Valley my surroundings began to remind me of the Hampton's.  Maybe it was the sense that the country road was sprinkled with signs of upper class citizens.  Regardless, the view was pastoral, with rolling fields and abundant vineyards.  We found ourselves happy and full without a plan. I appreciate the laid back approach we all had for letting the day unfold, as it will. We decided to seek out a winery....

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  • Featured In This Weeks Johnson's Backyard Garden Newsletter

    When I was in need of a sufficient growing space for the Folk Fibers dye garden I went to a guy that I know has land, my former boss Brenton Johnson. The story about Brent starting his farm in his backyard here in Austin is no secret, it's sweet and simple, and printed on thousands of CSA boxes and produce labels.  Brent still owns the house on Holly Street where JBG got started in the backyard, and front yard, and both sides.  Brent rents out the Holly Street residence and one of the tenants is how he found his amazing graphic designer (and my pal) Ryan...

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  • The Story Behind The Delaware Baby Quilt

    The Delaware Baby Quilt is almost entirely made with natural dyed fabric, almost. The bright peach fabric is actually a vintage cotton Liz Claiborne skirt.  The bright turquoise fabric was in my fabric collection and I'm not exactly sure where I acquired it but I do know it is a sandwashed cotton, meaning it has been gently buffed into a smooth and soft texture, resembling a suede but having the practical qualities of a cotton. For this quilt I dyed the sashiko cotton thread used for the quilting in a red onion skin dyebath, the result is a pale pink thread. This quilt is entirely hand quilted.  I prefer to hand...

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  • FROM THE GREENHOUSE TO THE GARDEN

    Spring Has Sprung In Austin & So Have I ! Six weeks ago I started 500 indigo seeds inside the JBG greenhouse. The JBG greenhouse still feels a little like my house, and Brent is so kind to continue to allow me access to the greenhouse. It is actually really easy to grow from seed if you have a well working greenhouse, sometimes it feels a little too easy, especially when you have a friend like Kim to water for you. If you don't watch yourself you can easily grow a ton of plants and your problem will be finding room for...

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