Artist Spotlight - Kayla Powers
Artist Spotlight - Kayla Powers
This week we are featuring the work of Kayla Powers, a weaver, natural dyer and founder of Salt Textile Studios. This colorful summer top was naturally dyed, handwoven and hand sewn by Kayla.
Naturally Dyed & Handwoven Top
Kayla writes, "Using natural fibers and plants to create cloth feels foundational to the human experience and is a big part of what motivates my work. I am inspired by the utilitarian and ubiquitous nature of woven goods like rugs, blankets, and baskets that are found in so many different forms all over the world. Handwoven clothing felt like a natural extension of my interest in functional weaving so I set out to make a naturally dyed, handwoven, hand sewn top."
"This Cotton Slub Yarn is perfect for the project. It takes the color beautifully and is just slubby enough to have lots of texture and be a little bit forgiving of any imperfections. Using two cones (about 1500 yards each) I wound a 34” warp at 12 epi. I dyed stripes in the warp to create vertical stripes on my top. This is a method I use in many of my weavings and it just takes a little extra planning. Natural colors just feel so much deeper and more complex than anything synthetically dyed and I especially love how it turned out on this yarn. The variation in saturation is so subtle and beautiful!"
"I used three of my favorite dye plants for a springy palette: Marigolds, Avocado Seeds, and Madder Root. I love how they work together, complimenting and balancing each other. I dressed my Finlandia countermarch loom using 4 shafts and did a tabby tie-up. Weaving was such a joy and went by so fast.
After cutting the fabric off I gave it a wash in my sink with warm water and then a tumble dry. I always baby my handwoven fabric! It shrunk quite a bit, which I had expected but I wove more than enough just to be on the safe side. My plan was to use a boxy, handwoven top I bought in Guatemala as a guide. I am not confident with a sewing machine so I chose to hand stitch the whole thing. It turned out so sweet and I think really compliments the woven fabric.
Because I just folded the fabric in half (rather than cutting two separate pieces), there were just the two side seams, the neck line and the bottom to stitch. I used a simple running stitch and what I believe to be a French Seam (fancy!!). I left the sleeves with the selvedge showing because I like the way it’s a little wavy. I am so happy with the result and have been wearing the top since the moment I finished it. As with all handwoven fabric, I’ll hand wash it and hang it up to dry.
This was certainly a labor of love and I definitely plan to make more in the future!" - Kayla Powers
About Kayla Powers
Kayla Powers is a weaver and natural dyer living and working in Detroit, Michigan. Her work is focused on local, natural color from plants foraged from around the city. Preservation of the traditional crafts of weaving and dyeing are at the heart of Kayla’s work. She is inspired by the limitations of a seasonal palette and the utilitarian nature of woven cloth. Kayla began Salt Textile Studios in 2017 as a way to bring other textile artists together.