Indigo Shibori is our spring crush this season. The pattern making technique first arose from Japan and Africa centuries ago, and uses wood blocks and intricate folds, clamps and binds to create resist patterns in the fabric.
“It is essentially grown up tie-dye,” says Edie Ure, a Boulder artist and designer.
Ure, who has worn many hats in the fashion industry, now spends her days as a natural dye artisan and owner of an eponymous interior brand who works with other designers such as Ryan Roche, FairEnds and Garza Marfer (to name a few). Ure gave us a peek at what the Shibori process is like, and filled us in on her life as an artist and embracing natural elements in design.
Describe the evolution of your art practice and your background.
I am a native Londoner, and after graduating in fashion and textiles from Central St Martins, I worked as a designer in Milan, Paris and then New York working at Ralph Lauren Home. Later, I owned a couple of businesses, one print design company which enabled me to create prints for many major New York brands from Ralph Lauren to Calvin Klein, GAP Ulla Johnson, and Tocca. Before moving to Colorado, I owned a children's wear label, which I co-designed with Ulla Johnson.
My ex-husband's job brought us to Boulder, and we moved to Colorado very suddenly. At the time I had never lived anywhere so un-urban, I was more about human nature than nature. It is quite the opposite now.
After I moved to Boulder, I took a step away for a few years because I had two young kids and there wasn't really a fashion industry here. It gave me a chance to absorb where I was living; the mountains and the remote and wild places in Colorado. I wanted to communicate that through my work and coming back to textiles was a very natural step for me.
I utilize raw materials to dye my textiles: bark, leaves, flowers, roots, vegetables and minerals, to create luminescent colors without the use of toxins or chemicals.
I now work as a natural dye artisan sustainably dyeing textiles for apparel/interior designers, and I own an eponymous interior brand.
How would you describe your signature style and use of color?
I create easy pieces for the home that convey warmth and spirit, and bring color into a neutral landscape, like a vase of flowers. Color is key in my work. I make the prettiest shades of pink from botanical sources and hues of blue that are impossible to recreate with flat synthetic dyes. I can't look at a flower or a tree without considering what color I can extract from it.
What is your process when starting a new piece?
I always start with color first and then consider which fiber would take the color the best. With natural dyes, the color can vary immensely according to whether it is protein fibers, like silk or wool, or a cellulose fiber, like cotton or linen. Silk is brighter and richer, and cotton tends to be more faded and subdued. I create small batches of the dye in my backyard in Boulder.
Where do you draw inspiration?
I travel near and far as often as I can, but visits to a great florist or local garden center like Harlequin Gardens can be very exciting. I am obsessed with flowers, and I'm always wondering how I can use them for their color.
What goals have you been working on your current pieces?
In our consumer culture, there are so many throwaway items; I try to make something that lasts and has an impact on the user but not on the earth. I would also like to find a locally produced hemp fabric to use in my collection.