Folk Fibers: Dyeing for Life in Quilts
Maura Ambrose – Folk Fibers: Dyeing for Life in Quilts
Always on the lookout for beautiful new ideas, I was flicking through the online copy of the American design, fashion and lifestyle e-zine called Refuelled and was hit by Folk Fibers. Okay, this case may be a long way away for many of you but ideas and inspiration can come from anywhere. Sometimes the urge to share a beautiful business with you is so great its feels urgent and exciting. This is one such case. Don’t let me be misunderstood. This is not flashing-light-techno-idesign. This is small-scale and local, paying homage to traditional skills and heritage lost in mass production techniques. Beauty in design, in production, execution and simplicity. It also helps to be inspired and inspirational.
Folk Fibers, the creation of Maura Ambrose, is based in Austin, Texas. With a background in Textile Design and Fiber Arts, Maura worked for a few years in preschools, on a couple organic farms, and then spent some time traveling America. Maura engages in natural dying and creating the most beautifully designed quilts. Producing one of a kind examples, using organic dyes, hand stitching them herself or sometimes with a little help from the local community.
Taking inspiration from travelling the backroads and exploring small town America, Maura rediscovered the colours of America and combined it with her knowledge of folk art, heritage crafting and strangely enough organic farming. Getting to know seeds and what they produced and what could be taken from plants, inspired Maura to delve into folklore and traditional dying techniques. Building quilts from scraps of material from overalls and jeans to aprons; and using historic and traditional designs, Folk Fibers approach is a creative and spontaneous ad-hocism which breathes new life into the old. There is sustainability in the abstract designs being used, allowing Maura to dip into bits of off -cut materials that are reborn as something functional yet beautiful.
Maura explains ‘My goal is to share the craft and folklore that prevails around natural dyes and quilting. I use natural dyes to dye some of the fabrics used in the making of my quilts. I patchwork my dyed fabric with other fabrics, both vintage & new. I am faithful to using 100% natural fibers; they feel better and live longer. I favor solid colors for their timeless appeal.
Every Folk Fibers quilt is entirely hand quilted right here in Austin Texas. My passion for quilting is rooted in the love and beauty achieved from hand stitching. The art of hand quilting does take more time, but the results are greater and more valuable than a manufactured quilt. Hand quilting adds one-of-a-kind beauty and will be cherished as an heirloom, passed down through future generations. For my large orders, I have reached out to the Austin community for some helpful assistance in the hand quilting process. The selected few women are highly skilled at hand sewing, and budding new friendships.
I organically grow, harvest, and forage for natural dyes around Austin. With a focus on “substantive dyes” also know as direct dyes, such as Indigo, Cochineal, Walnut Hulls, and Onion Skins. I favor substantive dyes because color fast fabrics are achieved without the aid of chemical additives, known as a mordant. Without the need for mordants the dying process becomes simplified and enjoyable, as well as kind to the environment’. http://www.folkfibers.com/pages/about November 2012
To paraphrase Schumacher, small, is beautiful…but so is simplicity.
For more information about Folk Fibers visit www. Folkfibers.com or follow Maura on twitter @folkfibers
Photo credits a) Theron Humphrey, b) Chap Ambrose, c) Red Prairie Press