Ancient Techniques, Contemporary Application...

Hello everybody!

I am new to this site and thought the best way to introduce myself is to show you some of my work and tell you a little more about my passion for textiles.

I fell into dye quite by accident in the early 1990's and have been making hand made textiles in one form or another ever since. For me, it is an absolutely magical experience when you appraoch a piece of blank fabric and you know you can turn it into whatever you want to! I have been hooked on the magical Wow Moment for sixteen years and I still get excited about it.

I dyed the fabric in this picture by hand in 2005 for JJ Schoeman for his SA Fashion Week collection. He gave me a piece of white twill with a brief for "something African". The shield shape is distinctly African and I decided to use it for my theme.

I started by planning the layout with dressmakers chalk to work out the placement and proportions. I stitched in each shield individually to make sure the shapes were crisp. I dyed the fabric twice, once in golden yellow and again in brown dye. I used a crush technique to lend texture and life. JJ used wooden beads to compliment the shapes with their natural colour and texture.

This picture was taken by Ivan Naude for SA Fashion Week and is used with his permission.

Have a great day in full colour!

Kind regards

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Comment by Tonja Wheeler on December 22, 2009 at 8:14am
The color of this fabric is beautiful! Good work!
Comment by Rita Long on December 22, 2009 at 7:50am
You really are talented. How did you get started?
Comment by Helen Wiley on December 22, 2009 at 7:28am

Your fabric is a work of art! I look forward to seeing more of your creations. Were you using natural or synthetic dyes?
Comment by Larri on December 22, 2009 at 6:49am
Melanie...your technique sound very interesting and produces a wonderful result. Congratulations on finding a career doing something you love. Your passion for fabric is shared by many here at SWN. I look forward to seeing more of your work. :o)

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