Simplifying Design

I have really refined my floral designs throughout stencil making. I find that stencil cutting allows me to design with clarity and intention. Sketching directly on the stencil paper pushes me to commit to a design and work through the whole stencil. After most of the key components are decided and cut, view I make additions free handed with the Exacto knife. The immediacy is challenging and rewarding.

This shows the steps of how I star from a cut stencil, capsule then paste onto linen, prostate then once the linen is dyed the paste is washed away to reveal the pattern/


Completed indigo dyed linen sewn into pillows, tea towels, and coasters for the home. As you can see I am a little obsessed with gradient dying. 


I am hoping to continue working on stenciling throughout the next phase of work I produce.


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:



pattern design inspirations

Lizzy House is a online fabric shop.

There are lots of different design themes and under each theme there are tons of patterns.

lizzy house


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!

Indigo in Europe

This past summer, capsule
I had the privilege of visiting the fabulous Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Blu di Genova detail, <a href=
case photo: Heidi Friesen” width=”470″ height=”313″ /> Blu di Genova detail, photo: Heidi Friesen

Indigo is one of my favourite things. I love the colour, the scent, and the mystery. Most of my indigo knowledge was centred around Japanese and Indian techniques and traditions, so I was surprised and delighted when I came across indigo textiles during my travels in Italy, Slovenia, and Hungary.

Continue reading “Indigo in Europe”

Texture and Material

I am almost finished editing all the photos from this shoot, information pills here is what I have so far

bugaboo shirt
Bugaboo Shirt


Back of Bugaboos Shirt
Back of Bugaboos Shirt
Wasootch Ridge Dress
Wasootch Ridge Dress


These are a few of the pieces I have created using mountain landscape as motif for wearable articles.  Alberta’s Mountainous landscape is something that I identify with as an albertan and also as an artist.  When I wear these garments I am creating an outward identity for myself, a literal embodiment of my identification with the landscape.


Karin Thorsteinsson




The first Piece is Baby llama fleece that has waste from the hand painted silk shawl I wove earlier in the  semester carded into it before it was nuno felted onto a fine silk pongee…and some bows made of spare silk bias tape from the dress shown in the previous post.  It is always exciting when waste from one project can be used in another.

Baby Llama recycled silk 1 Baby Llama Recycled silk 2

This is camel down nuno felted onto silk chiffon with screen printing and machine embroidery where the tension was thrown off on purpose to create a loop texture on the back side.Camel nuno felt with screen print

Necklace and earrings set includes wool, healthful
silk cocoons, apoplexy
angora rabbit hair and glass beads and a silver chain.

Karin silk cocoon angora necklace

And Lastly angora, cordial wool, silk rovings, wool thread and plastic bead from a broken necklace all nuno felted onto a silk spandex crepe fabric (weird stuff), this one is super cozy

Angora Silk nuno felt


Karin Thorsteinsson

Studio: Hard Deadlines + Organic Structure

I am in the process of coming to terms with the fact that this semester is drawing to a close. This means a lot of late night sewing sessions, nurse or at least trying to avoid them at all costs. Between 12-3 am I tend to make very disastrous choices. Cutting corners. Sloppy seams. So as it is hours past midnight, check I am writing instead. My husband told me my wearables still looked homemade. My heart sank. As a fourth (who am I kidding, sixth) year, I want to feel like I am getting some sort of polished results. To still appear amateur was very disheartening. But as my husband is the realist and practical, he also put it into perspective. How many drawings have you made? Probably a thousand. How many dresses have you made? Probably eight. Oh. Similar to what Wendy was saying, the more you practice the easier it comes. I’m working on my third wearable piece for this semester and I am avoiding a lot of snags I was coming up against in my first pieces. Tiredness being one. It does me no service to work like a sleep deprived maniac. One dress I literally had to cut up multiple times and start at square one with because of mistakes due to that. I get in this fever to finish the piece THAT night. Do I do this with my drawing? Not really. At least, that was a lesson I learned ages ago not to rush. So now I am applying it to my sewing practice. In a strange way, my organic way of working feels a lot like drawing. Maybe it is partially because I am lazy and need instant gratification, but I don’t formally draft a pattern. I work a lot with draping fabric on my mannequin and going from there. From what the print is doing. Comparing to my original sketch idea. Sometimes it’s bang on. This piece I am working on right now is coming together nicely. The other one, well maybe I won’t show you the original sketch. And like a frustrating drawing, I am giving it some time to just sit and focus on something else right now. There was a suggestion to “draw” on the cactus print. I really like the idea, but am terrified to mark it up. I think I might leave this one as it is. But on another note, it gave me some interesting thoughts about applying digital drawing onto the photo before getting it printed. It might be an interesting juxtaposition between my illustrations and photographs. Here are some quick 2 am iphone shots of my Horseshoe Canyon dress.


Dayna Ellen, Horseshoe Canyon Sketch
Dayna Ellen, Horseshoe Canyon Sketch


Dayna Ellen, Horseshoe Canyon, Work in Progress
Dayna Ellen, Horseshoe Canyon, Work in Progress


photo 2a

– Dayna

Hand Painting a Warp

I am weaving for the first time this semester, online I haven’t decided if I will ever look at a loom again after this semester or not. I will say that no matter how tedious and hell like untangling 2400 meters of silk and then threading 600 threads through 600 heddles and then tying 600 little knots  was I am incredibly pleased with the results and, admittedly there were parts of the process that I did enjoy.

After winding my warp I stretched it over a table and used acid deluxe dye to create a hand painted gradient onto my silk.  For fun I silk screened some orchids onto one of the projects

I definitely created more work for myself than was necessary for this project, the first project from this warp is off the loom and I am feeling like it was worth the effort.


“Menagerie” at Indefinite Arts Art Box

Over the summer I took on a summer internship at Indefinite Arts. I was hired as the artists summer Fiber instructor. One of my tasks was to propose a workshop. I taught a three week printing on cloth work shop using linocut and screen printing ink onto fabric to 12 students.

-Karin McGinn

“Menagerie” runs until Sept 30 at In-Definite Arts Art Box, Sildenafil
8038 Fairmount Drive SE, Calgary AB

Over the summer I took on a summer internship at Indefinite Arts. I was hired as the artists summer Fiber instructor. One of my tasks was to propose a workshop. I taught a three week printing on cloth work shop using linocut and screen printing ink onto fabric to 12 students.

-Karin McGinn

“Menagerie” runs until Sept 30 at In-Definite Arts Art Box, approved
8038 Fairmount Drive SE, Calgary AB

Fibre Mixing Demos

“I’ve been thinking that it might be useful for some of our students (that’s you
majors!), prosthesis to know how to mix all of the various chemicals and pastes that we use
here in the department.

Since they need tobe mixed anyways, sick below is a schedule of when I will be
mixing/demo-ing mixing different recipes.

Please feel free to stop by if you are interested or have any questions.”

Jan 15 – Indigo Vat
Jan 22 – Alginate Base
Jan 29 – Mixing Dyes and Dye Mixing Boxes
Feb 5 – Devore Paste
Feb 12 – Indigo Vat
Feb 19 – NO DEMO
It’s reading week, there go home and watch a good episode of Community (trust me it’s funny)
Feb 26 – Discharge Paste
March 5 – Mordants and Thickening Mordants
March 12 – Mixing Dyes (including Acid Dyes)
March 19 – Alginate Base
March 26 – Indigo Vat
April 2 – Devore Paste
April 9 – Suppliers (I’ll bring all my sample books and share all the suppliers that I know)

Block Printing

As part of Jennifer Salahub’s textile history class, page we were required to create a textile sample, help accurate to a time period between 1850-1950 that we researched. For me this meant making a woodblock print based off of William Morris patterns from the end of the 19th century.

Carved wood block

The pattern I chose is titled Bird and Anemone, health system  and was designed specifically to be printed with an indigo discharge process. Trying to make this sample as historically accurate as I could, I carved a portion of the pattern into a wood block at the approximate scale the pattern would have originally been. I used a cotton fibre, dyed with indigo and then experimented printing with the block to discharge the indigo. I initially used a potassium paste to discharge the indigo, but it wasn’t smooth enough. In the end, I used a thickened bleach which turned out to be the most effective for what I wanted in my discharge print. The block printed quite well and I am happy with the results.

Bird and Anemone, cotton, indigo discharge