Shauna Thomas: I studied surface design at Bloomsburg University. In 2006 I attended a Surface Design Conference in Kansas City with my professor, which is when I truly realized my love for the medium. I began working on wearable art with the intent of just making beautiful fabrics. All of my fabrics are designed by hand. April 2007 I won Best In Show at a local wearable art extravaganza. I now work from home, where I live with my husband and our beautiful son.
Tie dye is classic hippy style, but I don’t actually always like it. I think it works best when you’ve got subtle shades of the same colour happening, rather than as many different bright colours you can throw onto a t-shirt at once. Shades of pink from bright to pale to white looks girly and pretty and can be quite fairy-like. Ocean blue greens look lovely together and remind me of summer holidays and mermaids.
When I was pregnant with my first child, we were kindly given lots of hand-me-down baby clothes, including several baby-grows and vests that were once white, but were now stained and looked a bit grubby. Apart from that, they had plenty of life left in them, so we bought a couple of packets of dylon and set to work making various patterns. Not yet knowing the sex of the baby, we went for purples. We got so many compliments on those baby grows – I wish I had set up a hand-dyed baby grow business there and then. Oh well! Never mind, other people thought of it too and you can now buy some fabulously dyed outfits for babies.
A dark colour and black always looks good too; especially purple or red. This often has a pagan or witchy feel about it and is great on long dresses.
You’ve also got to be careful of the pattern. My preference is when the fabric has been scrunched and dyed for an all-over random effect. Lines across the item of clothing usually look good, but be warned of circles – the technique where you put a marble or something into the material and tie up the area around it so that afterwards you’re left with circles spreading from a central point. For some reason on men’s t-shirts, the point is right in the middle, highlighting even a slightly over-weight stomach. On women’s tops, two circles seem to always highlight the nipples – fine if you’ve got the confidence for this eye-catching look, but not so good when one of the tie-dyed circles is a bit wonky!
In the last few months, I’ve become oddly obsessed with ceramic jewelry. I think I love how it is both delicate & chunky. So when I saw the beautiful work at Lily Pottery, I knew Greenville, South Carolina would be the home of this week’s Shop Local post! Lily Pottery doesn’t just make jewelry, though. Lily Stratton also creates unique housewares & home decor items – citrus reamers, bundt pans, bird houses, wall pillows…
Lily’s studio is just one of 30 located in the Pendleton Street Arts District of West Greenville. On the first Friday of each month, you can join in a gallery crawl to see the artists & crafters at work.
Danielle Miller’s jewelry incorporates movement into each piece to create more than a beautiful object but an experience for the wearer. She says, “This kinetic aspect of my work creates an intimate and unique relationship between jewelry and wearer. My jewelry, by definition, is not only an object of personal adornment but also an object of personal interaction and recreation.”
If you’re looking for something a bit more industrial, check out Wingo Designs. I’m a fool for anything with text, so the graphic numbers and hand-written notes of their pendants really caught my eye! Wingo Designs also creates modern & organic metal pieces for landscape design.
Finally, Mollie Greene, of Royal Buffet, creates beautiful home decor & art objects from clippings of paper and other ephemera. Her creations would be the perfect way to add a small touch of handmade to your home.
It’s also worth noting that Mollie’s husband, Aaron, is a photographer who takes the striking images of her work! He owns Greene Photographs.
Do you know of a thriving arts & crafts community? Please drop me a line (email@example.com) to let me know!
Gill Back bio: I started handweaving after I was given a large 1930’s Harris floor loom and that was the beginning of my love affair with weaving!
I now have my own studio in France, where I have lived for the last 18 years. I produce a certain amount of my own wool yarn from a small flock of sheep and handspin and dye wool and silk. Sometimes I go for a completely natural effect/product and use organically produced yarns and natural plant dyes but I do also buy commercially produced silk and luxury yarns like cashmere.
Most of what I produce are ‘one-offs’ and I certainly don’t do production runs as I enjoy the challenge of designing new patterns and textures and experimenting with colour combinations.
For the scarves and shawls I usually work with silk, from very fine shantung to a thicker handspun with colours ranging from lovely golden natural tussah to a myriad of jewel bright colours. For other items like napkins and cushions I use cotton, linen and wool as appropriate.
All the scarves and shawls are handwoven by me on a floor loom. I prefer to use natural fibres, especially silk, but also use cashmere, alpaca, linen and cotton. Sometimes the yarn is handspun by me and I dye most of the silk myself. Each item is individually designed with much thought and care so you can be sure that anything you buy is totally unique.
I’m loving the work of Italian photographer Yvone de Rosa.