confessions of a dyer

(note** i changed the publish date on this post because Ann had her husband wrap this up for christmas- she won’t see it until then so didn’t want to spoil the surprise!)

yes, i have a confession to make. but before i do i have to set up the story a bit.

one of the things i really like to do is dye a scarf for a custom order. it gives me a chance to see color through someone else’s eyes and dye a color combination that i might not think of doing myself. usually i like the result and always end up learning something new about color. it usually starts out with an email describing the desired color combo like this:

“I’m a purple/lilac/blue/green person.”

so we go from there. and it helps if i have met the person face to face and in this case i had. (in fact, she came along to Japan with us and brought her husband who was delightful and a good sport as well -there were 15 women and just him and our guide Hirata san).

i received the email just a couple of weeks shy of the houston show where we would meet up in hopes of getting together as well as adding this scarf to her wardrobe.

admittedly, i was rushing things but got a piece done in the requested colors. it was lovely but somehow, it didn’t feel quite right. in the rushing i didn’t feel that i had captured her spirit. i have known Ann for a while-since 2008 when she discovered my silk shibori and from the Japan trip and knew her to be playful and light with a touch of pixie in her (no mystery as to why she is a dollmaker). being no time for a “do-over” i packed it up and off to houston we went.

expecting to see her at the preview night, i had her scarf out but tucked back in the display. it was a busy sales night and while i was attending to another customer someone found the scarf i had made for Ann. this gal was looking several over and i decided to just let it play out. surely she would choose another? in the end, she came up with 3 scarves chosen as gifts for very special friends who had helped her through some tough times this past year. and yes, one of them was Ann’s scarf. having made the mistake of having it out i was now faced with figuring out what to do for Ann. i still had many nice scarves available, just not one made with her in mind. some small part of me was saying “now you have the opportunity to make Ann “her” scarf- when you get back and can better focus.”

again, i decided to just let things play themselves out. perhaps another one might catch Ann’s favor when she saw them in person…or she would grant me the extra time to make one more.

it wasn’t until late the next day that Ann came to the booth to visit and see if i had been able to get one made up for her. i told her it had been difficult, to look over what was on hand and if she didn’t see one that spoke to her we would settle on a colorway and have one made for her when i got back to the studio. she found a silk scrap pack that had the colors in it that she wanted and we used that as the guide. interestingly, it was quite different from the one that i had originally made.

so this time i was able to really focus on Ann as i base dyed her scarf a pale lavender, as i ironed, folded, and polewrapped it, as i lowered it into the discharge bath and finally as i painted on the overdyes. my mind went to the times we had shared in Japan, to her husband Doug who graciously took so many photos and shared them with us, to the dolls she lovingly makes. i also loved the name she chose for her business-Ann’s Inner Child. (i don’t think she has kept her website but if she sends me a link i will share it here later.)

this is the way i like to do custom work- with intention and space to conjure up the essence of the person as i work on the piece. many of these are done for special occasions or events, as special gifts for someone. there is a desire to integrate what i can gather about that person as i am making.

so in the end, it all worked out and her scarf is on the way. i am writing this ahead of her receiving it so won’t publish it until she opens it as there is a little surprise in there as well. hate to ruin the moment you know…

ann's inner child

(you can order one for yourself or another here)
there is also the gift certificate option…

8 thoughts on “confessions of a dyer

  1. Ann

    Thank you so much Glennis – the scarf is indeed incredible and worth the wait. How lovely to have a peek inside your thoughts. I don’t know what the first one was like – obviously also lovely since someone picked it up so quickly. But you did indeed nail me with this one. fyi – I have had to change my website slightly to as the .com site is temporarily unavailable.


      1. Kirsten Elise

        Very nice story. Thanks Glennis. It made me happy to hear how you think the spirit into the things you make.
        And very nice dolls. Its so obvious that you had to choose those colours for the scarf – when you see the dolls.

        Your great fan Kirsten Elise


        1. shiborigirl Post author

          i know ann puts a similar kind of intention into those dolls she makes.

          enjoy the rerun of the online shibori workshop kirsten. i’m hoping to add a few new video posts in the coming weeks…


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