We were recently introduced to the work of textile designer Kim Shipton of Heirloom Fibrecraft. She uses a beautifully subtle and pared back palette of native plant dyes on raw fibres, with eco printing techniques that produce a delicate and organically inspired collection of homewares and fashion accessories.
“I am preoccupied with Australian native plants and Australia’s natural dye and craft history (both indigenous and introduced),” says Kim of her chosen botanic theme. “I enjoy experimenting with native plants and source from prolific species in my area or garden. I’m addicted to the aroma emitted from Eucalyptus, Melaleuca and Mallee species when they are being cooked in the dye process. Depending on which mordants I add, an extensive colour range is available.”
Fibres such as wools are sourced from small scale Australian farmers and producers, while the raw fabrics she uses such as hemp and wild tussah silk originate from parts of India. It’s contemporary design and traditional craft that crosses cultures.
Kim is currently working on larger art installation pieces and wall hangings with a three dimensional character made from mixed natural textiles which protrude, warp and twist. These are hand sewn using a selection of fabrics that she dyes by hand from plant parts, herbage and blooms. The range is developing from giftware items and small wall hangings, eco tote handbags, scarves, shawls, lampshades, cushions and throws that are sold through Natural Base.