Makers Tales at the Guy Goodfellow Showroom

This week sees the official launch of the ‘Makers Tales’ series of artisan showcases in the Guy Goodfellow Collection Showroom in Chelsea, London.

Sarah Burns, who works under the name ‘Dora Fabrics‘ is a devotee of natural dyestuffs and has spent the last few years searching for native plants in the fields and hedgerows around her Sussex studio on the South Downs, and experimenting to develop an array of sumptuous colours that you would never imagine coming from plants such as the humble Ash tree or bramble.

Sarah escaped her life in the city working as an economist to follow her creative dreams, and re-trained as a printed textile designer, moving out of London to the idyllic countryside of Sussex. 

The designs in the Dora Fabrics collection are reminiscent of 1950’s woodcut prints; simple, graphic designs that originate from Sarah’s observations of her local surroundings. The graphic qualities of the prints are belied by the gentle colour palette created from the naturally dyed base cloths that Sarah creates.

For the ‘Makers Tales’ show Sarah has dyed sumptuous lengths of crunchy silk with dyes from the weld plant, which gives a glowing warm yellow, walnut and Ash bark which has given a rich pewter grey-green. Colours change depending on the mordant (or fix) that is used and on the fabric base, so Sarah’s dye recipe books are like a bible of invaluable observations.

When talking with Sarah, the joy of what she does is infectious and luckily for us she offers courses in dyeing where we can all experience the excitement of the unknown, foraging for plants, chopping, boiling and testing to our heart’s content in the fresh air of the Sussex countryside. Coming away with ranges of colour swatches and a new found respect for nature’s incredible bounty.

Of course, if you don’t fancy the process of dyeing then Sarah can be commissioned to create lengths of hand dyed linen or silk to suit your colour scheme, but be aware that the nature of the method means that you may need to wait until a particular plant comes into season, as in the world of Dora Fabrics Mother Nature dictates the seasons and their colours!

Sarah can be contacted via:

The show runs until the 14th June 2017

Rooted in…..

I have been beavering away in my workspace, putting together my first collection of limited edition block printed cushion covers. The pure joy of creating a product from scratch had me literally jiggling for joy when my first lino cut printed succesfully onto the antique French linen that I have been collecting for years and wondering what to do with!!

Inspired by local London street names, I wanted to combine my love of plant drawing with my return to South London after many years living in France, and what better way than to combine them in a collection of prints? Hence the “Rooted in” collection was born! My first two designs are “Love Walk, SE5” With an image of the delicate Love-in-a-mist flower ( just in time for St Valentine’s day) and “Elm Grove SE15”. In keeping with the traditions of multi cultural Peckham and my extended family I have used traditional hand tie dyed fabric from Nigeria to create the piping around the cushions; a truly multi-ethnic product!

The first two designs in the collection went into my first stockist SE storehouse which is a social enterprise store in Peckham, and I am so excited to see my cushions in their window!

So, watch this space for more designs in the Rooted in collection, there are so many fantastic plant forms out there in the streets of London!