This week's blog post was written by fiber artist Sherry Bingaman of Nueva Vida.
I have always loved color! I began sewing at age 9 and can vividly remember the excitement of roaming through the fabric department in the big department store in my hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin. The colors! The textures! So exciting! My mother was very stylish and could carry off the most dramatic colors. I was always fascinated with the unusual color combinations she put together.
As a textiles major and college freshman at Iowa State University in 1970, I still recall the excitement of my first weaving class. The thrill of creating fabrics from my own yarn and color choices is still a vivid memory. My obsession with textiles, color, and texture began with that one class and has continued to this day, 40 years later.
My hand-dyed yarns and fibers are a signature of my textile business, and I never tire of playing with my dyes to create new colors. I prefer procion dyes that mix like paints and use the same basic color theory. Endless color possibilities!
The history of textile dyeing is fascinating. Imagine a world without color! The ancient world was much more colorful than we might imagine. Fabric dyeing was first recorded as far back as 2600 BC. Dyes were originally made with natural pigments mixed with water and oil used to decorate skin, jewelry, and clothing. These are the same dyes used for painting prehistoric caves in places like El Castillo, Spain, some 40,000 years ago.
The history of the color purple is my favorite. When Alexander the Great conquered Persia in 331 BC, he first laid eyes on robes dyes with purple. Because of its rarity and intensive dye process, purple was only available for the robes of kings and princes then and continues to represent royalty even to this day.
It’s easy to take our seemingly unlimited access to colorful clothing today for granted. Open your closet and just imagine how boring it would be without all those fabulous colors! Enjoy!