Silk and Willow: Plant Dyed Ribbons
Shellie the creator of these spectacular ribbons, posts the most beautiful pictures of her amazing work on Instagram. I’m fascinated by the idea that the ribbons she sells are all created with plant material. Utilizing the fruit, petals, seed pods and roots she can capture the essence of nature. She quotes “Nature is perfectly imperfect. ” Her ribbons and accessories are all one of a kind, a gift from nature. Inspired by an old age art, Shellie has found her true passion in life.
Thanks Shellie, for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’re reading this and know of another flower superstar, flower farm or someone else noteworthy from the world of flowers, please contact me, so that I can get them on this blog and share their story. Thanks for reading!
Q: Shellie, we love what you do, creating beautiful hand dyed ribbons and fabrics. Can you tell us how this passion began?
My journey into the art of plant dyeing silks is one that started many years ago when my daughters entered a nursery program at our local Waldorf School. When I walked into their classroom draped with naturally dyed silks, I was instantly enchanted. Over the years I have experimented with natural dye materials and fibers, creating many gifts and art pieces in my free time. After 10+ years of “hand-crafting” for the pure joy of it, I decided to leave my computer-based graphics career to design a business that would enable me to follow my passion full time.
Q: Where is your company located and do you have retail location or an online presence?
Silk & Willow launched officially in 2014. I am located in New York’s Hudson Valley ( Hudson Valley is know for it’s local farms, out door activities, and rich artist community). Silk & Willow is currently a home-based business with an online retail shop, but we hope to have a brick & mortar shop in the future.
Q: What sparks your creativity and inspires you to create something new? Does it come from the world of wedding fashion or is it something more organic in nature that inspires you?
I am always experimenting, trying new dyeing materials and natural fabrics to take on those dyes. Most of my new products are inspired by a personal need; I seek to create items that are both useful and beautiful. And the seasonal hues I see in nature have always been my muse for creating colors.
Q: Do you make all your own dyes?
I use a variety of plant materials for my dyeing. Many are from my garden, friends, local restaurants and even off the roadside if something unique catches my eye. If they are not gathered locally, they are sustainably sourced from ethical companies. My current favorite materials to use are avocado pits, walnut hulls, and onion skins.
Q: What is your favorite color right now and what do you see coming in the future?
It’s difficult to pick an all time favorite color; they all have their own personality and the color I gravitate towards can change with my mood or my intention for the ribbon. Although, a color I seem to return to is a muted berry hue extracted from hibiscus flowers. The color is soft and subtle with an enchanting shimmer.
Q: Has there been a memorable moment in your career that you felt challenged or push to a new limit?
I feel doing what you love makes a challenging moment more of an adventure. My favorite times are when I have the opportunity to create a custom piece for a specific event. Yet, I find developing this custom item also becomes the most challenging; putting your all into creating a piece that you will have to part with, knowing it will never be exactly replicated again.
Q: As a creative entrepreneur can you give any words of inspiration to future budding creatives thinking about starting their own business?
One of the greatest joys I find in being an entrepreneur comes from the relationships I have built with other industry professionals. So my advice to new creative minds embarking on their own journey would be this: connect, share and collaborate as much as you can, that is the best place to start.