How to Grow California wildflowers for botanical Dyeing
It's finally Spring and we've been having some beautiful sunny weather here in Southern California, which has inspired me to begin planting my dye garden this Spring. I will be sharing a few posts under this category over the next month, so if you are interested in growing plants for dye then please follow along! Currently, I planted my indigo seeds and I am growing a mix of California Wildflowers to start off my dye garden. At the moment, the indigo and wildflower mix has just been started, and I can't wait to share the progress from Day 7 as they sprout to Day 21 as they begin to bloom. I selected this particular mix for our evening Botanical Dye workshop on May 10th.
This Waterwise mix includes 20 annuals:
Some of the highlights include, California poppies, Desert Marigolds, Verbena, Primrose, Bluebells and Calendula. I am looking forward to experimenting beforehand to see what dyes each flower might yield. I will also transfer all over our indigo seedlings to these raised Cedar planters that came in this week. Even if you just have a few containers or pots scattered about, you can still try out this Water-wise Mix. Some of the remaining planter space is for wildflowers, although I have them currently sprinkled around many different places in our garden and one pot near the front porch. These are drought-tolerant, which I like and the reviews say they can be somewhat forgotten about as far as daily watering.
At the workshop in May, we are going to be eco-printing large silk square scarves. I love the high-quality silk as a surface and I source them ethically from Maiwa Textiles in Vancouver. If silk is not your thing, you could also do a cotton piece, which we can work out in advance. You can join below if you are interested in the group workshop here in my garden.
The last time we offered this workshop was over a year ago, so I should also say that we only host this particular workshop once in Spring, one-time annually, so it is a special opportunity to learn to dye botanically. The last time a gardener friend of mine, donated lots of wildflower clippings that turned into beautiful flower prints on fabric. This time, I am growing wildflowers to create even more color options. I am especially excited about infusing the garments with calendula and using it as dye. What colors will result and will the pieces also smell amazing?
Want to see some pieces that I dyed with avocado and oxalis, a weed that grows by the roadside here in Los Angeles? Keep on reading, to see all the beautiful plant colors and inspiration. Click below to receive my free botanical guide on how to get started dyeing with plants!
WORKING AS: A BLOCK PRINTER AND TEXTILE DESIGNER
This month, I made a cool new artist friend, Danielle Broder. When I came across her work, I new that she would be a perfect fit for my working as series, where we dive deep into the world of artist careers. Today, she shares her artistic experience and journey with us. You will learn all about block printing, and how you can get started creating unique textiles of your very own! Read the interview to see all of her trendsetting patterns and score a freebie from Danielle!
Danielle, can you please share a little bit about yourself?
I’ve always been creative, but never considered it as a career until college. I was lucky enough to have an artsy grandma, mom and dad putting me in painting, drawing, jewelry, and crafting classes all the time as a kid. When I got to college, I decided to study illustration even though I didn’t know how that would eventually turn into a job. A year after graduating, I went back for a second degree in interior design and worked for a few designers and architects in L.A.
While in college, I had all kinds of random art jobs, working for a home staging company, as an art teacher for kids (kill me), an art director at a summer camp, and doing graphic and web design for a few years. After I graduated the second time, I needed to get the heck out of L.A. So I moved to San Francisco and started my business shortly after.
I started printing fabric and making wall prints, selling them online and at craft shows. After a few years it was going ok but it was growing painfully slow. I decided to quit doing craft shows cold turkey and worked more on my online presence. Soon I received a random email from a small company, asking me to create a class to teach my printing process.
A few months later, I was teaching block printing from my kitchen table in SF through Groupon. Now 5 years later, that class has become my signature offer as I’ve tweaked it to accommodate up to 40 people in larger settings as well as a 1:1 class.
I also started doing custom work for interior designers which I really love (even though some projects are SUCH a challenge!)
The Block Printing Process
Tell us a little bit about your process:
I sketch designs in pencil and work them over in Illustrator until I get them perfect. Then I transfer those images to rubber, carve them out, and stamp them with inks onto giant pieces of fabric. I try and stay out of the sewing part...I really don't enjoy that part!!
What kind of wood or material you use for your block?
There are a bunch of materials you can carve to create a block print, but I use rubber blocks for all of my designs. I find that rubber in combination with the inks I use have the best effects on fabric, while still being really quick and easy to use.
How long does it take you to carve it out?
It depends on how intricate the design is. Most simple blocks I can carve up in less than an hour. More delicate and complex larger scale blocks can take up to a few days to carve. If it’s that detailed, I usually space it out over a week, so I can rest my eyes in between!
How did you get started?
I spent 8 years in art school learning every medium under the sun, but somehow missed printmaking. Part of the senior project in my interior design degree was to take a part of my design project and construct a piece of it at full scale.
I chose to make a fabric wall hanging because I was super stressed and that seemed really easy. I bought a piece of $4 burlap, and googled how to print my designs onto fabric. After a quick search, I came across a block printing tutorial and that was it. I got the supplies, carved my first block, and my project was a hit.
What is your favorite pattern that you have ever created?
I don’t really have a favorite (can’t choose!), but my favorite group of patterns were all designed when I took my second solo trip to France and Spain in 2017. I was really inspired by the D’Orsay Museum and spent hours in cafés sipping wine and sketching. Those patterns remind me of that incredible trip!
What type of inks do you use?
I use screen-printing inks for all my projects. I prefer them over oil inks because they are less toxic and much easier to clean up.
What projects are you most excited about right now?
I’m finishing up some custom fabric for a woman who makes super cute pillows for interior design projects. I designed totally new patterns that stray from my usual style, so it was fun to break that boundary and do something new.
I’m also updating my online course which is a video workshop where you can learn my entire process from start to finish.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
That seems so far away! In 5 years I want to be teaching primarily online, while doing more large scale custom projects for interior designers. Oh, and I want to be hosting a rad art retreat!
Thank you Danielle for sharing your expertise and inspiring us!
You can find out more about Danielle here, and click below to grab her free list of supplies to get started.
Happy Valentine's Day, my lovelies!
Today, I am sharing a round-up of my top 3 Valentine's Day projects to inspire you to make a special gift for someone you love. Below you will find elevated handmade projects uniting fine art and craft to bring out the creative in you!
1. Avocado Dyed Silk Scarves
This project is for the nature lover in you:) One of the easiest and fun ways to get started with Natural Dyeing is with these avocado dyed silk scarves. We will be exploring this in our Indigo and Fragrance Blending workshop, where you can layer the indigo with an avocado under-dye in the process.
2. Heart Shaped DreamCatchers
These heart-shaped dream catchers are one of my most popular and viewed projects ever! These were inspired by a workshop that I attended at CAFAM with textile artist Mimi Haddon. Please tag your dreamcatchers on instagram, so that I can see them!
3. Valentine's Day Block Printed Cards
These block printed cards were a part of the Make Nine Challenge that I participated in last year! I had so much fun exploring block printing on paper and I would love to share the process with you. I also marbled the envelope in a separate marbling project.
Coming soon, I will be sharing a Q and A with a block printer textile designer and she will answer all of your questions! We would love to know what additional questions you have about block printing so that we can cover them here for you! You can email me your questions in advance.
HI, I'M HILARY.
This is where I share inspiration for a handmade lifestyle from natural dye methods, textile surface techniques, and the best of California design. I love dreaming up products for a sustainable artful home. I offer creative workshops to inspire you to live your best life by connecting you to your creativity and others. I hope to meet you in person at one of my workshops for creative people like you! Join my tribe to receive your first free video on Shibori folding with me.
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