I generally start with white cotton, or another natural fiber, that I dye with fiber reactive dyes that permanently bond the colors to the cloth. I may also use black fabric as a starting point, taking color out of the fabric and then putting other colors back into it.
Frequently, I under paint my fabrics with several colors of dye before immersing them in a dye bath. I may then remove color from the dyed fabric and over dye it again with one or more colors.
Often, I will enhance the dyed fabric with paints, colored pencils or other media that can be used to add interest. I use various tools to add these additional layers including hand applications, brushes, sponges, stamps, stencils or silk screens.
Many of my pieces are heavily quilted using purchased threads or thread that I have hand-dyed myself in order to get interesting color variations and more texture. The intense quilting enhances the fabric and adds another dimension to the work.
Below are some photos that illustrate the process:
This is a bolt of white cloth which is what I often start with. In this case, it is cotton.
I usually manipulate the fabric before dyeing it. Here I have folded the fabric prior to painting it with dyes.
Next I will paint this fabric with liquid dye stock, i.e., dye powder that has been mixed with water.
I plan to dye this fabric again with another color. Before doing so, I will fold the fabric in some irregular folds, wrap it around a pole, tie it with string and compress it. Then I will overdye it, in this case with black dye.
Here is a section of the finished fabric ready to be used in a quilt.