Before we dig into Vanessa Crook and how creating a color variation for a dye bath makes her feel like a "groovy scientist," we have to let you know that you too can be a "groovy scientist" by going to our workshop with her on October 18! You can still register here!
Vanessa Crook is one talented lady. She makes everything herself, making her operation truly a one woman show. From the initial idea, throughout the design process, and the final product- it's all her. She is a self-proclaimed fashion school drop-out, but no worries, she went on to finish her degree in Studio art and Anthropology. Her work revolves around soft sculptures and textiles, heritage craft and needle point and the idea of bringing "visual whims into functioning products". She started small, just doing bedding and home textiles, and has since grown into doing bags and simple garments. Her designs are playful, unique, compliment-worthy, and really, just super fun.
Shop her products here if you can't wait till Feliz!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you're bringing to Feliz?
My name is Vanessa Crook and I am the one woman show behind Realm in Austin, TX. I make hand dyed and embroidered bedding, bags, and apparel. I have been making my goods for just under a year and am really excited about where Realm has already taken me. I sort of started my business on accident when I got injured working as a massage therapist and suddenly had a lot of time off to experiment and it's been a quickly evolving process ever since. I love the time I spend in my studio teasing out my aesthetic and applying different textures and designs into my work. This season I've been really focusing on weaving together all of my influences, and I will be bringing everything with me to Feliz: redesigned bedding, a ton of new bag designs that incorporate my dyes as well as my embroidery, all new eyeball pillows, and some simple apparel. View on Instagram
Is the dying process trial and error, or is there a science to it?
Dying is kind of a mystery process for sure, you'll never get the same result twice no mater how meticulous your dye notes are on this kind of process. However, when you do anything with enough repetition and pay attention to the variables you introduce you can hone in on what works and what doesn't, and never pull out something too completely surprising from a dye bath. I try to keep thorough journals of all of my experiments but really these work more as a record than a guide. Plus I like feeling like a groovy scientist when I'm starting a new dye bath, and try to introduce color amounts based on feeling.
Can you give us a sneak preview on what you've got planned for the workshop on the 18th?
At the workshop we are going to be doing a variation on ice dying that allows the participants to take their dye baths home. We are going to be creating layers of dye, fabric, and ice in jars, and discussing the merits and methods of fiber reactive dyes. I'm really excited to see what comes out of the class I think it's going to be great.
Your embroidery is very fun and playful, does comedy influence your design?
I love that people can find humor in my work as I definitely consider it an important part of my process. I'm rarely as inspired by anything as I am by a joke or one-liner and I love images that can convey a similar feeling. Every design I embroider starts as a doodle in my sketchbook that I digitize into an embroidery file and screw around with until it matches my original vision. I keep a lot of notes on images I get stuck in my head and want to create and sometimes it takes forever for me to actualize that vision. I always think things are the most successful when someone laughs at it, but I also try not to hide too much behind an easy punchline.
A big thank you to Vanessa for sharing with us and, really, go to her workshop! (did we mention there will be a themed cocktail...?)