The Wild Dyerby Niamh McCooey
In the current Luna issue of Selvedge, Abigail Booth of Forest + Found shares with our readers her expertise on how to make a beautiful patchwork quilt. Inspired by the Japanese tradition of boro, where pieces of used fabric are patched and pieced together, Abigail's work taps into the slow philosophy of foraging mixed with making – one that Ptolemny Mann investigated for Selvedge in issue 72...
I found an edge I wasn’t expecting when I met the makers behind Forest + Found. For Abigail Booth and Max Bainbridge, a deep understanding of living in their East London community coexists alongside foraging excursions in nearby Epping Forest. Their wares illustrate a fresh duality between urban and rural living.
There is a philosophical thread underpinning everything Forest + Found do; both Bainbridge and Booth are keen to explore objects through thinking, dialogue and making. They prefer a self-taught approach, picking up the skills they need when they are required. For now, Booth has focused on quilting and Bainbridge on woodworking. The wood shavings left over from Bainbridge’s practice are used by Booth to dye the cloth she then quilts – she explains that the natural tannins found in different types of wood can create an array of delicate tones, from black and grey to soft purples.
This, combined with various metal alums to fix the dye, also adds colour variations; copper salt will achieve a different tone to iron salt for example. She favours unbleached calico as her base fabric – the prototype fabric preferred by fashion designers – and elevating this simple cloth to a new status appeals to her. ‘The wood dyes create a leather effect on the cloth; they give it an unusual depth.’ Booth’s quilts have a simple gravitas; strong graphic motifs based around traditional quilting techniques reflecting chevrons, scallops, crosses and triangles. Machine pieced and then hand-quilted using English waxed linen thread, they often express the tonal subtleties of the natural dyes…
To read this article in full, order your copy of Selvedge issue 72 here.
Abigail Booth will also be leading a Slow Quilting workshop with Selvedge at Chateau Dumas in the south of France next summer, 2018. To find out more and to book your place, click here.