Chloe Scadding

As a craftsperson working with plant dyes, I have a particular interest in exploring how we can aid better connection, understanding and appreciation of our natural world through the use of traditional crafts.


What craft do you work with?
I am currently working with natural dyes on textiles and cordage. I worked for many years as a freelance designer in the textile industry during which I became increasingly concerned with the disconnect between design production, our relationship with material goods and our natural world. In reaction to this my focus has been shifting towards practices which honour traditional skills and into an enquiry of how we can utilise these for a more sustainable future. I find that plant dyes provide a great way to connect us to our local landscape and plant life through the joy of colour.

What inspires you to work with this craft?
I am really interested in the creative process and how this can affect wellbeing and be used as a method of positive social engagement. Last year I collaborated on a large piece of furniture for a new community arts space in Paisley, for which I foraged dye plants from the Scottish landscape, colouring durable cordage and creating a woven bench seat around a frame constructed from locally sourced oak. The natural colour and its origins created a surrounding narrative beyond the bench itself, providing an opportunity to engage its users with the possibilities of plant colour.

How do you start your creative process?
Historically my work has tended to utilise a range of personally developed, hand crafted processes in which the material often dictates the technique’s used. This is especially the case when working with plant dyes. The season, availability and growing conditions all play a big part in what colour you may achieve and for me, this is part of its beauty.

Your Workspace?
I consider the outdoor landscape to be just as much my workspace as the indoor workshop I may be using, gathering plant material is my favourite part of working with natural dyes. For this, my rucksack often contains gloves and secateurs and various bags for collecting foraged plants. Large dye pans are a must and a digital thermometer is also a very handy tool when dyeing, helping to ensure you are using the correct temperatures to either prepare fibres and work with dye baths effectively.

Are there new techniques you would like to try?
I’m would like to learn how to make natural cordage from foraged materials to use with various weaving techniques. I am also interested in exploring quilting and how I could combine naturally dyed cloth with this important folk tradition of storytelling.

Sharing your craft and experience?
I feel passionately about utilising craft as a method for creating more sustainable futures and as a way to engage with a wider audience. The colours we surround ourselves within our environment affect our experience of a place and play an important part of our sense of being within a space. As crafts people we have the opportunity to affect how others interact and engage with the world around them and the art of plant dyes can assist with this. I am most interested in how we can foster a better connection and therefor respect of our natural world through this use of craft and traditional skills. As my practice continues, my hope is that this can be at the forefront of how I work.

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Wales, UK

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