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Interview With A Dyer: Vic Pemberton


Just when I thought I was becoming skilled at bra making, Amy posted about how she has been dyeing her lingerie notions. Turning a eeehhh-colored Tencel into a rich mink brown and elastic into an exciting neon yellow, she’s leaving me in the dust y’all. Although most of my time right now is being spent completing a couple of big projects I’ve been working on for the past 6 months but once those are complete, I’m going to catch up! There’s nothing like healthy competition to light a fire under your tushy to get you going.  Until then, I’ll be doing my research, reading up on dyeing techniques and reaching out to mavens in the industry. Once such maven is Vic, owner of the Etsy shop Bind and Fold. Based out of Australia, her shop and her blog are a creative outlet for the shibori textile artist. She was shy at first but I pried enough that she agreed to be interviewed. Learning from the best is the good route for becoming skilled in any trade and Vic is definitely one of the best.
I’m Vic and I live in Melbourne, Australia with my husband and 2-year-old son. I started Bind | Fold as a way to share my dye work in whatever way I can. Currently I sell Shibori dyed scarves, but I have plans for other items as well.

I discovered Shibori one day while searching the internet for something new to do with dye. American tie dye doesn’t really excite me, so I was looking for something a bit different.

One misconception that I have come across the most is that it’s not a lengthy process. In my experience this hasn’t been true. Fibre reactive dyes can take days to cure properly, to get a dark indigo blue, you have to re-dip your fabric in your vat over and over. Depending on how dark you want it, it can take hours because you have to oxidize it properly between each dip. I read somewhere recently that in the great dye houses in Japan, some pieces take days to achieve a deep blue/black indigo. The fastest dyes to work with are acid dyes, but even then you’re looking at a couple of hours to complete the dye process properly. You can, of course, work smart and do multiple jobs at the same time, but you can’t rush the dye itself.

Unwrapping a piece of Arashi at the end is pretty great. Watching it unfurl. You can replicate a pattern so you have a good idea of what it’s going to look like at the end but each piece always has something in it that turns out differently.

I wouldn’t say that there is anyone that I copy, however I’m definitely inspired by other peoples work. It’s a great thing to recognize another artist and love their work but to also want to use it as a starting point and take it further, or take it in a different direction, I think that is really one of the best things about being an artist. There are a lot of different ways to interpret the same techniques, but on the other hand, some are just what they are, so you will see similar work from different people. Shibori is, after all, a very traditional dye craft which is going through a resurgence at the moment. Which is a great thing, it’s being modernized and it’s becoming really accessible. As a Shibori practitioner it’s exciting to see all the new spins people are putting on it.


Hmm, this is one of those questions that you ask yourself at different points in your life and the answer is always different. I read an interesting interview with Kim Gordon (of Sonic Youth) in Elle a few weeks ago, and she is such an inspiring person. I’d love to sit down with her and just talk about anything. She works across so many different mediums, music, painting, fashion – I’d love to hear about that in depth. Hopefully she will write a book and add author to her list of talents! As for the wine, there is an excellent little vineyard just outside of a town called Fish Creek on the way to Wilson’s prom called Basia Mille and their Pinot Grigio is amazing. I’d serve that for sure.

Well, at the moment I’m actually loving the simplicity of making scarves! I buy my silk ones already hand rolled but I hem everything else myself. I’ve also have plans for some bedding, and also some textile sculptures that I have half envisioned. Besides that I have been enjoying sewing my own clothes when I find the time. I need to beef up my skills so I can get into making myself some jackets. I have a bit of a jacket obsession, and I’d love to be able to make a beautiful tailored jacket that I could wear forever.


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    Acid dyes used for nylon are some of the easiest dyes to use. If you plan your purchases right you can purchase all you bra making materials and notions in white and then just dye to whim or just dye the bra when finished if you also use nylon lingerie thread. If you premix your stock dyes into liquid form then you can just mix up the dyes like watercolors.

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      Also a crappy old crockpot is excellent for dying too.

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    Great interview, thank you so much!
    I took an itajime class in New York, which was a lot of fun! Only my recent project didn’t turn out as I wanted (you can read about it on my blog), but I guess that’s part of the learning process right?

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    I’ve been wanting to experiment dying fabric. It adds such a great personal touch to a piece. Vic’s work is so bold and lovely.

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    Mariana Hodges

    great interview! her work is extraordinary.

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    A lovely interview. Dyeing is really fun. I just love color and the unexpected results that sometimes happen. I can’t wait to keep experimenting with it, especially with effects like ombre and shibori.

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    Fun post! I love love love shibori– can’t wait to check out Vic’s blog and shop!

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