Natural Dye Sampler

Fun Fun Fun!

On the weekend I was busy cooking up a variety of colours for a natural dye printing sampler. This sampler shows thirty colours and eleven different modifiers making for a grand total of three hundred and thirty circlers. The modifers include: Cream of Tartar, sick Soda Ash, information pills Citric Acid, store Alum and Iron. The natural dye colours include: Weld, Buckthorn, Chamomile, Golden Rod, Osage, Marigold, Gallnut, Sumac, Madder, Lac, Brazilwood, Logwood, Henna and Black Walnut. I mixed a variety of these saturate dye pastes together to get secondary colours. I also mixed various ratios of alum and iron paste together, this creates the darker grey colours that appear on the cloth below. I will be teaching an introduction to printing with natural dyes workshop next semester, so stay tuned if you are interested in signing up. I received a grant from ACAD to teach this workshop so there will be no costs to students!
Above is a shot of the dye colours before I’ve added the modifiers.

Above is a shot of the dye colours with the modifiers.

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Printing Experiments

Breakdown and Polychromatic Printing with Natural Dyes!

For one of my projects I’ve been experimenting with two silk screen techniques called polychromatic and breakdown printing.

In polychromatic printing you use dye water to paint directly on the screen wait for the screen to dry then transfer your mark making/painting onto the cloth. You can get lovely textures from using different brushes and the marks appear light and watery. You can add multiple layers of dye water onto your screen but you must wait for your screen to completely dry before you add another layer. Adding multiple layers of dye colour will create brighter and more saturate results.

In breakdown printing you use thicken dye paste and paint directly onto your silk screen. You can play around with the thickness of your dye and add found textures like bubble wrap or lace. Let the screen dry overnight and then use it for printing the next day. Using the thicken dye pastes causes a resist on your screen. You can print about four or five times with the same screen before your thickened dye disappears.

Here are some process shots of printing from the weekend!



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“There must be a reason to dirt a fine, white cloth with print.” –Armi Ratia


Armi Ratia, pregnancy founder and managing director of Marimekko. Photo: Teppo Lipasti, 1975

Lately in my practice I’ve been thinking about what has influenced my interest and love for hand-printed textiles. While I was deep in my research and thoughts this weekend, I remembered the “Marimekko, With Love” show I was fortunate enough to attend in the winter of 2013. The show took place at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto, Ontario. The quote above popped into my head recently, reminding me of how much this show has had an impact on me, inspiring my work and my design philosophies to this day.


Installation view (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener

The show was a retrospective look at the famed Finnish design company, Marimekko, founded by Armi Ratia and her husband Viljo in 1951 in Helsinki, Finland. The show explored Marimekko’s uniquely integrated design, manufacturing and marketing. The Toronto Star said the company’s focus was on “style, creative living and bright patterns in a society recovering from the Second World War.” Marimekko’s prints and patterns suited the emerging visual arts landscape of the 1950s and 60s.

The article also stated that “its designer Maija Isola, who created the classic poppy pattern, Unikko, often took cues from nature. Her Lokki design-think horizontal wavy lines- was inspired by a seagull’s shadow flying over water.”

Finding inspiration in one’s surrounding environment hits close to home.


Installation view (2013) Photo: Jill Kitchener


Karelia (Front Street), opening party. Photo: Wollin Gustavs Kayari, c. 1960

“Marimekko introduced boldness and experimentation that left an indelible imprint immediately,” says Shauna McCabe, executive director of the Textile Museum of Canada. “The founder, Armi Ratia, had an encompassing vision about the power of design in everyday life.”

Who wouldn’t fall for these bright, bold and powerful patterns?


Printex printing mill in Helsinki.

To learn more about Marimekko’s history visit:



A Little Motivation



Source: “The Great Discontent Issue 4.” Web. Sept 5, glaucoma 2016.

This week I would like to share with you one of my favourite magazines… The Great Discontent.  

The Great Discontent (TGD) is a print and online magazine featuring inspiring, infertility in-depth conversations with today’s artists, health makers, and risk takers. TDG looks into the lives of its subjects through long-form interviews and short features, a podcast, a live event series and film-based projects. This magazine is published by Wayward Wild in New York City.

Print issues are available for purchase in TGD’s online shop and at retailers worldwide. In addition to print, they also publish new digital content on their website throughout the month. You can also purchase digital copies of all their magazines. I purchased their first magazine digitally a few years ago. Accessing the magazine on my computer and phone is a simple and enjoyable experience. I love googling the artists and viewing their websites while I read through the magazine.

Here’s a summary of what their printed issues cover:

Issue # 1

This issue features a collection of inspiring interviews loosely based around the theme of leaps. Their stories encourage, inspire, and challenge us to make the jump, even if—and especially when—we’re afraid.

Issue # 2

The theme of hustle implores us to reconsider the idea of making it—both how we do it and how we define it. This magazine is a reminder that more often than not, we must work hard to carve out a path to doing the work we love.

Issue # 3

Features those who have dared to push the boundaries of what is achievable.  Their stories will encourage you to explore your interests and overcome your fears, allowing you to discover what you’re truly capable of.

Issue # 4

Ambition is the theme of this issue, covering a selection of interviews with those who are committed to their crafts and pursuing their paths with a sense of purpose. Their stories will drive you to explore your ambitions and chase them with a renewed resolve.

Reading these interviews is a treat, and they help inform your practice at the same time. You can’t go wrong with TGD, it’s well worth your time. It is a great resource for any creative in any stage of their career.

I hope you enjoy reading TGD as much as I do.



Source: “Samantha Pleet.” Interview by Ryan and Tina Essmaker. Photograph by Hannah Kristina Metz. Web. March 24, 2015. 

Getting Yourself Organized!

It’s that time of year again, drugs when students need to start planning their future while we tackle all the course work that’s coming our way. Career goals, viagra buy planning, website organization, writing, marketing, making awesome work, preparing portfolios… the list goes on. School becomes quite overwhelming pretty quickly. That’s why today I am dedicating my post to super sweet resources that can get anyone back on track from their summer vacation!

Source: “Kreg looks like he’s starting to regret those 4 years.” Imgur.  Web, April 24, 2016.


EVERNOTE : A personal content manager. Keep lists of websites you like, recipes, ANYTHING that you want to keep track of. Accessible from anywhere, Shareable with other evernote users (good for group work).

Google Drive : Cloud Storage, integrated into gmail. Most useful for gmail users, but is accessible with any google account. Best for personal storage only, sharing capability isn’t great, doesn’t create links for file downloading purposes.

Google Calendar : Scheduling app. Works best integrated into gmail. Make different ‘calendars’ for different uses, easy to share calendars with others, send/make appointments automatically through email. This is my savior this year!

Toggl : Time tracker. Really great for knowing where your work day went, or how long you’ve spent on a job. Very simple, can generate time sheets too.


Google Hangouts : Group video chat. Best video conference tool for more than 2 users at a time. Can share your screen with other callers, and text links during calls. Needs gmail account.

Skype : Two person video chat. Commonly used worldwide, has recording capability with plugin software such as, CallRecorder

DropBox : Cloud Storage, made very useful for projects and file sharing. Free account with free space that grows with recommendations. Excellent for file sharing and making downloadable files. Integrated onto your desktop. (Good for group work)

GoToMeeting : Paid group chat provider. More reliable for important, professional meetings.


Mailchimp : Free (up to 1000 contacts) contact list manager and email creation software. Keep your mailing list up to date and in order. Track who opens emails, categorize contacts, generates a ‘sign up’ form you can embed on your website. Starting a mailing list is great for when you start to build clientele at craft shows.

The Square (POS) : Extremely easy point of sale device. Connects to your bank account, allows small vendors to accept credit cards. Low % commission on per sale basis. No contract. Vital for craft shows!

Dreamhost : Web­hosting. Affordable and easy to manage, good user interface, great customer service and friendly. Can register all kinds of domains too.

Big Cartel : E­commerce platform, great for small shops.  – up to 3 item shops are hosted Free. Uses paypal. – Can be cloaked on your personal website.

Shopify : Canadian E­commerce platform, good plans available for larger shops with many items or lots of sales. – Can be cloaked on your personal website.

Wave : Canadian online Accounting software. Free for small business, can connect to your bank account. Does invoicing, tracks expenses and bill payments.

Quickbooks Online : Highly tested and true accounting software. Online tool is new, I have heard only good things about this platform. Makes sending invoices easy and professionally to your clients.

Tangerine : Online banking, personal or business. No fee banking, great user interface, interest on savings, picture check deposits, easily shared/linked accounts – I hesitate to recommend a bank, but this one deserves a look.


Issuu : Web publishing into digital flipbooks. Free. Used by magazines for professional online published look. Upload a PDF and the site crunches it into a online flipbook with a link.

Blurb : Affordable, high quality, hardcopy book publishing. Can order 1 or more books – best to be designed in InDesign, but can be published from a PDF. Site will generate a flipbook of you book with link – printing proof. Delivery in a few weeks.

Graph Paper Press : Wordpress themes for creatives, free and paid. Great quality and design, come with updates, lots of functionality.

Moo Cards : Very high quality printing. Offers low unit print runs, can be expensive but you don’t end up with 1000s of cards (which is often a waste). Lots of customization.

Vista Print :  Affordable large run printing. Canadian (lower shipping cost). Mid range quality. Limited customization.

Overnight : Good quality printing, fast turnaround. Shipping from California, can be pricey. Moderate customization.

Adfactor : Toronto printing company. Can order online or in person. Turnaround time is a couple weeks, can be convenient. Limited customization, average prices. FOR SOCIAL NETWORKING


Etsy : Sales platform. Connected directly to customers. Is known for craft, batch production, hand made goods by real people. Very quick to sign up and begin sales pursuit.

Linked in : Business driven social media. Linked In profiles are very often used as resumes and in job acquisition. Ability to ‘endorse’ contacts for their skill set. Good for finding references.

Hootsuite : Social Networking Manager. Put in time all at once and Hootsuite posts and updates your social platforms for you – as per your programmed schedule. Great for keeping networking sites

I love getting organized and staying on top of things! If you have a useful site, platform or source that you’d like to share, comment below! We’re all in this together. Lets make this year a great one!

Source: “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” Imgur.  Web, August 29, 2016.


Natural Dye Workshop

Hey everyone! I will be teaching a two day natural dye workshop at ACAD. The workshop takes place during the last week of April. Check it out on pg 12!  on the Extended Studies course calendar.



Author Interview: Fashion History With April Calahan

My show Anastigmatic is up in the Marion Nicoll Gallery’s LRT space. It runs from January 18 – February 19.

There will be a reception on February 4th at 5pm in the Main Mall.

I hope to see you there!


Anastigmatic is an investigation of stereotypes and the stigmas and shame associated with stains. Three garments were deconstructed, what is ed rearranged and hand stitched back together. Their new form frees them from their previous function and yet are still recognizable in relation to the body. The marks that appear disrupt the continuity of the cloth; one stained, one burned, and one bleached. Each one is uncomfortably permanent and unquestionably vulnerable. This method of exposing the garments raises the  questions: Can a stain be embraced? Is there value in a stain? Can a stain stimulate growth?

Carly Hynes is a Fibre Artist soon to complete her BFA at Alberta College of Art + Design. Growth is an ongoing concept in her studio practice where she uses her connection with cloth as a way to explore personal identity and her environment.


Found a interesting podcast that I wanted to share! It has some great info and resources.
April has two books out about fashion history, viagra dosage
one featuring historical fashion plates, viagra and another on the pochoir technique used to create fashion illustrations in the early 20th century.

Listen to the podcast here. 

Also this blog run by the author is also amazing! Check it out here.


Caroline Forde Designs


Hello! My name is Caroline and I am a recent graduate from Sheridan College’s Textile Design program. I have recently joined ACAD’s fibre community this fall. Here you can see the work I’ve created in my previous program. I’ll be adding new work I’ve made at ACAD during the winter break!

I use squarespace as my website platform and I have to admit using this site is pretty fantastic. Students receive 50% off their first year of signing up! The website is very easy to navigate and put together making it user friendly. Plus they have great tech support and online instructions if you need help using the site. It’s definitely worth checking out.

You can view my website at

You can check out Squarespace at

Happy Thursday!