After graduating in Printed Textiles, I realized that, when using Photoshop to design textile prints, I soon missed using my hands when creating as it was not as satisfying to be sat at my computer. My graduate project was heavily digitally printed, which I thoroughly enjoyed at the time, until the excitement of using a program that ensures speedy results, soon ran its course and became quite repetitive.
I began using natural dyes when I started an advanced textile workshop with Zoe Burt. Since childhood, I have always been a lover of walking in nature, foraging for windfall, flowers and leaves and bringing a sense of connection to the world around me. To be able to use the dye stuffs that I have collected is a pure delight. The amazement of what can be achieved with natural pigments intrigued me to the point where I continued to self-teach myself in my shared studio, The Textiles Hub in Kingsgate workshops.
As a conscious consumer, I want my brand to be as sustainable as possible, so I started researching the cut flower industry. I wanted to focus my practice on using waste, and I contacted London florists to see if they would like to collaborate with me when discarding their floral waste. I now collect floral waste from The Floral Editor, in Battersea, who provides flowers for the floral displays at a luxury hotel in Mayfair weekly. I dry store the flowers and keep them for sampling, experiments or future workshops held at my artist’s studio.
Onion skins, avocado pits and skins are other good sources of natural dye pigment that are considered food waste. I use a water saving technique called ‘bundle-dyeing’ or ‘eco-printing’ that creates beautiful imprints of leaves and petals on textiles, only using a little steam to release the pigment. I use special flowers from big events like weddings, using the bundle-dye technique to create luxurious gifts for the bride in form of a silk kimono, scarf or slip dress, all hand-made in the United Kingdom. This is a unique way to preserve your wedding flowers, creating a memento that will last a lifetime.
My most recent project is a very exciting collaboration with sustainable fashion brand Phoebe English, who commissioned me to over-dye deadstock fabrics with organic indigo from El Salvador. This is a great way to recycle fabrics, creating a refreshing new collection, in an extremely resourceful way.
Kingsgate Open Studios is full of wonderful designer/makers and will be open to the public for Open Studios 22nd-24th November click here for more info. I will be holding an organic indigo dye workshop, where we can create organic cotton shibori tee’s and tote bags. For my bundle-dye workshops I provide pre-mordanted Organic UK grown silk, focusing on a well sourced supply chain which is at the core of my brand values.
For more information about Kylie and her work, please visit www.kyliesiobhan.co.uk.