To celebrate World Environment Day, I'd like to share with you a new collection I've been working on for the past few months.
Inspired by a recent trip to Scotland, I have been working on some designs which depict the majestic landscape. I have also been developing a design process that uses 100% natural dyes which is really exciting. This cleaner and more environmentally friendly approach came about after I completed a natural dye course earlier this year with textile artist Zoe Burt at Morley College.
Me in the Scottish Highlands.
The Quiraing in the Isle of Skye, Scotland.
I knew I wanted to design a range inspired by the Scottish Highlands but I wasn't sure how to incorporate this into my brand so it would be in keeping with my other collections. I sketched some of the views using chalky pastels, roughly sketching out forms using lines and bold mark-making.
Sketches of the Scottish scenery.
Pastel sketch of Carbost.
After producing a series of chalky artworks, I started to think more about the natural dye course I did earlier in the year and if there was a way I could merge my design inspiration with the dyeing process. Thinking of the winding valleys and towering mountains (munros as they're called in Scotland) I started to map out interesting shapes which simplify the scenery.
Photos from my trip looking at composition.
Dip dye planning.
I bought a range of natural extracts and started testing different colour combinations. I hand-dyed silk, playing with dip dyeing and painting, layering up colours and then stripping colour out. This was a fun but very time-consuming process that requires a lot of detailed note-taking and trial and error.
Dip dye testing with natural dyes.
I started to refine what really worked. Through hours and hours of trial and error (over months), I whittled down my colour palette and found a technique which conveyed my vision of the Scottish Highlands and was in keeping with my design style and was really very beautiful.
This has been a very time consuming and challenging undertaking, but I believe that the makers and brands of today have a responsibility to find ways of making products that are as sustainable as possible, without compromising on style and function. Add to that the extra challenge of creating pieces which are affordable, in the hope to make sustainable products mainstream.
The process was both exciting and frustrating but I'm so pleased I kept going as I love the results and hope you do too.
In the studio selecting the most effective dip dye experiments.
The Munro collection will launch later in the year. For updates on the launch and other upcoming collections and events, sign up to my newsletter here. or keep an eye on my social media.
I have recently been featured in Crafty Fox's 'Sustainability in Making' blog series. To read the full article, please click here.
Sign up to the newsletter here to hear more from Samantha Warren.