For as long as I can remember, I have loved making things with my hands, and have felt excited by color. During the twenty years I worked as a psychologist, I continued to explore various media in both handcrafts and fine arts. Eventually I realized that my deepest passion lay in using color, and in creating with my hands.
For a number of years I worked in mixed media collage and printmaking, but I have always been drawn to working with textiles. I fell in love with creating color on cloth at a fabric dyeing workshop, and I began dyeing cotton to use in quilts. When I learned how to create pattern on cloth with Shibori techniques, I decided to try those methods on silk, and soon after, I started Antrim Street Studio, in 2007.
In dyeing and designing with fabric I have found a medium that gives me great joy; in the handling of the materials and equipment; in being able to work on my feet; in balancing the planning and precision required in Shibori dyeing with the improvisation of creating new designs and colors. Time, temperature, water and pressure all affect the way the dye attaches to the fabric, which makes each piece unique.
I am inspired by many things - the infinite ways beauty is expressed in natural forms, contemporary and indigenous art, and by architectural forms. I also find creative inspiration listening to music – mostly world music, indie rock, contemporary folk, which are often playing in the studio.
I like creating work that is both beautiful and useful. I have recently added neck ties and bow ties to my collections of scarves and shawls. Men can have fun with color too! I create pieces in a wide range of colors that look good on women and men of different ethnicities. It brings me great pleasure to help someone select the colors that make his or her face light up.
I have lived on the same crowded, friendly city street for over thirty years, where my husband and I have raised our two sons, and attended dozens of block parties. We have painted our house in many colors, both inside and out, and are surrounded by our colorful perennial garden.
All Antrim Street Studio fabric is hand dyed 100% silk. The smooth silk has an even weave with a smooth surface and a subtle sheen. The silk chiffon has a soft, graceful drape, a slightly pebbly texture, and a matt surface.
My fabrics are:
I use fiber reactive dyes, which bond permanently to the fabric, making it colorfast. After the silk is dyed, I wash out the excess dye with hot water and dyer’s soap. This process guarantees that the colors will not run when a piece is either hand washed or dry cleaned.
I begin the dye process using powdered dyes in primary colors, which enables me to mix an almost infinite array of colors. I create the patterns in the silk by using mechanical resist techniques, which involve shaping and compressing the fabric before submerging it in a liquid dye bath, so portions of it resist the dye. The shaping methods I use include a variety of ways to fold and then clamp shapes to the fabric, or by wrapping the fabric around a pole or rope. The Japanese term for these techniques is Shibori.
My process involves shaping the silk by hand, and carefully orchestrating color, time, temperature, water and shape. Each piece emerges from the dye bath with unique variations in color and texture. When I unwrap and wash each one, I can see how nature has had a hand in creating the results. The element of surprise in how each piece turns out is a constant delight.
Each fall and spring I introduce changes in my color palette, both to coordinate with the fashion colors of the season, and because I love experimenting with color and color combinations. You will also find new designs in my collections every year.
I create new collections twice a year, always providing a range of sizes, from neck scarves to shawls. I create a full palette of color, and offer both single color, subtle designs, and scarves made in multi colored, bold patterns.
Hand wash in warm water with mild soap, and hang to dry. Use a cool iron while the fabric is still damp, or spray with water to dampen while ironing. If you have an oil spot on your scarf, gently rub a little dish washing soap into it with warm water, stir while soaking for a few minutes, then rinse. Do not use bleach.
You can remove most wrinkles from the silk chiffon scarves by hanging them up in a steamy humid bathroom, or spraying them with water and leaving them to hang dry. (These methods will leave the smooth silk scarves looking crinkly.)
You may also dry clean your scarf.
See below for care of bow ties and neck ties.
At Antrim Street Studio, we make the only neck ties and bow ties I know of that are hand dyed, hand cut and sewn all in the same studio. They are made from the same colorfast hand dyed silk as the scarves, and they are lined for extra body. As with the scarves, I offer subtle, single color patterns as well as bolder, multi-color designs, all in a wide variety of colors. Some neck ties and bow ties are made from silk dyed for specifically that purpose. Others are made from remnants of my hand dyed silk scarves and shawls.
The neck ties, made in both skinny and regular widths, have a traditional horsehair lining to give the knot a firm grip. The bow ties are made with an adjustable neck band and a clasp. They are designed to be self tied, but can be purchased pre-tied. All neck ties and bow ties are shipped in white gift boxes, to keep them wrinkle free.
Please dry clean.
These are made from the same hand dyed silk as the scarves, and are hand cut and sewn. Most are made from silk pieces left from scarf dyeing.
Rosettes are made in two sizes. The larger ones, 3 inches across, are mounted on either a pin or an alligator hair clip. The clips can be worn in the hair and are especially beautiful clipped to a color coordinated silk scarf.
The smaller rosettes are about 1 3/4 inches across, and are mounted on either a small snap barrette, or a black elastic band. These are best worn in hair, and while often worn by adults, make wonderful gifts for children (who can also wear the elastics on their wrists.)
The hand dyed scrunchies are machine sewn and can be bought either on regular size elastic or extra stretchy elastic for thick hair.
All scrunchies and rosettes are shipped in small white gift boxes, to keep their shape intact.
My studio is in our environmentally friendly home. The sun from the solar panels on our roof powers our electricity and the hot water I use to dye my work. I use environmentally safe materials in every step of my process. Nothing is wasted! I use remnants of hand dyed fabric to make rosettes, scrunchies and other items. The hand dyed silks that I keep from previous seasons inspire use as raw material in new work.
Students from the Massachusetts College of Art work for me as part time assistants, doing sewing, preparation of the fabric for dyeing, contributing their wonderful ideas, and introducing me to great new music! I love seeing the variety of talents they bring to the work. The ironing board overlooks the back yard, where we watch the seasons change and see urban wildlife come and go.