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Featured Shop: Bind and Fold

Aug 3, 2015

by Victoria Pemberton

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

My name is Victoria, and I’m the dyer behind Bind and Fold. I’m interested in ethical and sustainable living, so I work with natural textiles, fibers and plant-based dyes, with a focus on organic indigo. I live and work in Melbourne, Australia.

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I started dyeing after taking an interest in sewing. I’ve always loved quilts, and I really wanted to make one of my own. I became interested in textile design through making quilts, and that led me to dye. I’m self taught in all of my craft pursuits, thanks to books and the Internet; however, I did study photography at uni, graduating with a degree in visual arts. I feel that photography and indigo dyeing have a lot in common – when you’re developing a photo, it has to emerge from the developer, and the image blooms before your eyes. Indigo is the same: it changes and takes on a new life of its own. You pull your cloth from the vat and it changes color before your eyes. Each piece is a snapshot of the technique you used to create it — and the skill of the dyer in capturing that technique.

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One main source of inspiration for me is traditional crafts, particularly shibori. The term “shibori” encompasses a massive range of techniques; there are literally hundreds of different ways to pattern your cloth by binding, folding, compressing, twisting and stitching designs into it. I recently returned from a trip to Japan where I was able to meet some professional dyers and indigo masters and witness shibori masters deftly tying their designs. It was a life- and work-changing experience. My time in Japan gave me the opportunity to reflect on ideas I’d been having and develop them further just by experiencing the culture there, and I’m currently working on some new techniques and designs that I’m excited about as a result.

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When I’m working on new ideas, I tend to imagine the finished piece and then work towards it. Sometimes I’ll do a quick sketch, then try out different techniques and patterns before prototyping the product. I find that some patterns work really well on certain scales, but on other scales they lose their special something. I always want my work to have a timeless element to it; I think it’s important that my work fits into people’s lives without effort. It should look like it’s meant to be there, and it always has been.

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Finding this path and my passion has changed me a lot as a person. I’ve always loved art, but nothing set me on fire like dyeing does. I love the physicality of it, I love the process. It’s taught me the value of hard work – not just my own, but other people’s, as well. It’s given me a new world view, and I’m grateful for that.

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My business is just me. Being small, I don’t have a private team to do all the things I don’t know how to do, like SEO; selling on Etsy has opened my work up to an international audience that I wouldn’t have reached on my own. Etsy has been my team, and I’m truly grateful for it! My goals for the future are to continue to push my craft, to learn as much as I can, to create great work, and to share it with as many people as possible. I hope that it makes other people as happy as it makes me.

Follow Bind and Fold’s Dye Diary Blog, or keep up with the latest on Instagram and Pinterest.

All photographs by Hilary Walker.

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