Creative Process: Infinity Scarves
I spent most of this crazy year dreaming about this new scarf collection and working away in odd moments and snippets of time while the kids were busy for a few minutes... it's taken a lot of determination to actually complete any projects, haha! When I finally got some nice long days in the studio over the summer time, it was incredibly gratifying to take these sketches and ideas and make them into something real and beautiful.
Here's a peek at one of my sketches... My idea for this project was to continue my tradition of turning odd bits of my hand-printed fabrics into sustainable, eco-friendly infinity scarves. I also wanted to mix in some gorgeous organic cotton from Alabama Chanin, which is sustainably grown and milled in the USA! The new collection of scarves would mix these two fabrics and would give me an opportunity to be playful with creatively mixing colors and patterns. My color palette and pattern designs are inspired by the colors and textures of nature, both abstract and realistic... though the color-block style feels modern and equally well-suited to city streets or zoom meetings as breezy mountaintops or mossy woods. Most of all, I wanted these scarves to be incredibly soft, comfortable and easy to wear, and fun to style. The bamboo jersey fabric makes them luxuriously soft against the skin, and the loop style infinity scarf makes them effortless to throw on as you're heading out the door.
So, with my self-created design brief in mind, I started rummaging through my fabric supply, pulling swatches and digging for scraps and pieces that need to be used, and thinking about color combinations and pattern combinations. It was a REALLY fun process!
Once I picked out my colors, I did a lot of cutting. Each piece had to be cut down to about 20"x20" so that I could print on them. Cutting fabric can take a LOT OF TIME and then some more time.
Once I had a rough idea of some fabric choices and color combos, I started printing some of the first patterns. It was a wonderful opportunity to sift through my collection of screens, some of them have been with me for 10 or 20 years as I've moved from one studio to another! These are all my own patterns and designs that I have turned into silkscreen stencils.
This Watercolor Floral design is one of my favorite patterns, and one that seems to work well in combination with many of my other designs. One of my favorite parts of this scarf concept was to play with combining different colors and patterns, so this versatile watercolor pattern seemed like a great place to start.
As I printed more and more patterns and colors, my plans kept evolving as I discovered new and delightful combinations, and found that some of my planned combinations didn't end up looking the way I had imagined them. I had to add a handful of new scarf designs to the collection, to squeeze in some of the beautiful accidents that happened through experimentation and play.
Post-it-note explosion! My brain isn't the most orderly place.
Here is my charming, 5-year-old studio assistant helping me with some smaller pieces.
After we got lots and lots of pieces printed, then I had to do a bit more trimming and cutting and a lot of organizing and mixing and matching and re-organizing.
Finally! Once I got it all organized, I handed it off to the inspiring and talented Natasha of Mama Hen, who stitched them into finished scarves. She has a special seam technique that we kind of figured out together to make the seams lie flat and look beautiful!
Collaborating with other local craftspeople and talented artists is one of my favorite parts of handmade business and I am continually inspired by the brilliant community of Maine craftspeople that surrounds me!