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Jan Barker

Textiler

Find Me

My Story

Lover of nature and hand made bespoke creations that are earth friendly, reflected in hand dyed fabrics and paper. Collected leaves, flowers and barks wrapped and bound to capture the colors of nature.

In 2001 Jan signed up for a felting workshop with the talented Leah Jones of Euroa, Victoria. Working as a Park Ranger at the time she had little time for artistic pursuits, her job was her expression. With a horticultural background, working in Natural Resource Management and formerly working in shearing sheds, Jan found that I loved the textural tactile form of expression using wool and other natural fibres.

In 2007 Jan had a sea change in Pambula, New South Wales and found more time to explore felting. She attended various workshops, felted in every spare minute using both raw fleece and pre dyed roving from the wonderful first edition fibres and yarns.

As Jan used more and more raw fleece it was a natural progression to dye her own wool, using various techniques and products, predominantly native Australian plants. This progressed to getting her own small wool carder and using more and more plant dyes for wall hangings and felted wearable art.

When Jan returned to Mansfield, Victoria, she explored natural dye techniques more and more. Eco plant dye and print on silk fabric and wool became my passion. Attending eco dye workshops with the inspirational master dyer, India Flint, cemented some technique.

Jan tends to avoid pre made chemical mordants and other dyes as she learns about what each plant is offering. We have such an abundance of beautiful native plants here that give up beautiful palletes of colour each season. Collecting leaves, bark and nuts and using them for dyes keeps her in touch with nature and what she brings. "I want to tread lightly on this earth so my practice produces very little waste as I think about the environment".

Wool and silk take natural native plant dyes so well and are versatile fabrics for wearing all year round. Organic cotton, bamboo and linen are amongst my favourite for summer. The fabrics are ethically sourced, that support fair work and trade ethics. Jan likes comfortable, flexible clothing that can be layered and gathered to produce versatility of wear. Natural fabrics breathe, move with you and are long lasting.

Jan likes to leave some raw edges. As each garment is handmade, no two are the same. She uses various pots, which act as mordants, for different color outcomes. For Prints each piece of fabric is individually laid out, wrapped and put into the cauldron. Dye techniques vary from over and over dyeing to single dye preparations. Single block color dyeing brings a warmth to the fabric. Many of her fabric pieces have landed on walls for their 'natural art of the bush' quality.

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