Sharing the Process : Talking about Textiles with Phoebe Stout of Untold Imprint

Guest contributor post by Heather Smith Jones


Guest Contributor Post by Heather Smith Jones of Blue Sparrow Press.

In this second installment of Sharing the Process we hear from Phoebe Stout of Untold Imprint. I asked her to talk about her materials, travel inspirations, and how her family has influenced her current work in textiles and jewelry making. She has written a heartfelt response to these questions and I really appreciate her conversation about the beauty and importance of seeing "the fingerprint of the maker". I think you willl find her work and thoughts refreshing as well. Thank you Phoebe!




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My name is Phoebe Stout, and I’m a textile designer. I started Untold Imprint, my line of hand printed, hand dyed and hand made textiles earlier this year in my small New York City home studio. My work is a continually changing and evolving process. I discover new techniques and results almost daily and use what I learn from my travels and fellow artists as a catalyst to developing my own way. Mostly I’ve found that what feels right for me is when something has a bit of an unfinished look. I love the happy accidents that occur when I’m printing and dyeing and have begun to encourage more of them since I’ve found this is what leads to results that make me happiest.


The textiles I create rely heavily on the materials I use. I prefer cloth that shows the slubs of the imperfect threads and inks that don’t cover that imperfection. It’s been such a personal process finding what works for me and being patient throughout the exploration. When I set out to design my collection, I was very eager to have it all figured out; but I quickly realized that connecting with materials can’t be rushed. It’s a relationship that needs to grow; and, over time, a sense of trust develops. Printing and sewing are very meditative for me in large part because of the familiarity that I’ve found with my materials.


I suppose it’s fitting that I’m doing what I’m doing and that it all feels so natural. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania with parents who are both teachers. They sold antiques during the summer months so there was a constant coming and going of old and salvaged items in our home. There were lots of projects in the garage where my sisters and I were encouraged to get involved and get our hands dirty, which we loved. We did outdoor field shows together, where we camped out and got to explore the treasures being sold by fellow vendors and we spent hours at auction houses too. It has stayed with me all these years and as a result I find such comfort in old things. I want to create textiles that reflect that - prints that look a bit worn already but still really clean and simple.


I like to do most things by hand, even if it takes longer. For example, I like the physical act of preparing a screen; it makes the finished towel or pillow I’m making, feel even more personal. Using my paint brush to paint the design (I can’t say enough about how much I love Drawing Fluid) and then filling the screen, letting it dry and then washing it to see my finished result, is so gratifying. I’ve always loved using my hands and after years of working in the corporate world where most of my designing was done by computer, I’m eager to be as hands-on as possible.


I appreciate seeing the fingerprint of the maker and it’s wonderful to watch the handmade community being embraced as it is because it shows that people truly value that fingerprint. My greatest joy in life is travel and I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in some incredible places and see block printing and hand embroidery being done as it’s been done for hundreds of years, simply and unspoiled by big industry. The one thing that I always come away with is the admiration for the time that is spent making what will be a completely unique piece of art. I never return without a few textiles and keepsakes from my travels and my home is a reflection of the experiences I’ve had. It’s very important for me to be surrounded by the colors and textures that I love. It’s constant inspiration. My process, the raw materials I choose, the colors I mix, designs that I paint and even the way I work is always encouraged by my memories of life experiences and the examples set by fellow artisans. I guess, in the end, like most of us I’m hoping to reflect parts of myself in my work so that the fabrics I create tell my story.

I’m so grateful to Poppytalk and Etsy and the entire handmade community. There is a true feeling of "all for one and one for all" which makes us strive to be better and what more can we do in life but that.

Visit Phoebe here:
Website : http://www.untoldimprint.blogspot.com/
Shop : http://www.etsy.com/shop/untoldimprint
Poppytalk Handmade : http://poppytalkhandmade.com/table120


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Heather Smith Jones M.F.A., is a multi-media artist, arts instructor, and author. She lives with her husband in Lawrence, Kansas and loves painting, printing, and drawing in the studio that he built. Find out more about what Heather does here:

Website : http://www.heathersmithjones.com
Blue Sparrow Press : http://www.bluesparrowpress.com
Poppytalk Handmade : http://www.poppytalkhandmade.com/table84

Jan Halvarson

10 comments:

Pinecone Camp said...

This was such a great post! I love learning about an artist's thought process, and how they do what they do. Her work is beautiful.

Anna said...

These are really beautiful. Very inspiring post!

xo, Anna of (Green Gable)

LR said...

i see the harmony between her essence and artwork. truly beautiful.

ale said...

muy beautifull!!!!!!!! as all your lovely blog!!! besos from buenos aires!!

TWENTYONETONNES said...

Perfect! I love how she highlights global elements and the lovely rawness of her materials, while keeping her prints clean and simple. Stunning work.

Amie said...

I love your blog, you may like mine too.
love
Amie & Orla xx
www.milliefillous.blogspot.com

gaby@stilelemente said...

I really like Phoebe's work and ditto to what Pinecone Camp said. So much about what Phoebe says here resonates with me. I guess because there are elements about her life that I can relate to - I also grew up surrounded by old and salvaged things and a creative family. Aspects of your childhood do seep into your consciousness to inform your sense of style - both in how you approach your work and the things you choose to surround yourself with.

Mandy Behrens said...

I'm thoroughly enjoying these posts -- thank you Heather and Poppytalk! It's clear by the caliber of her work that Phoebe is following her heart. I applaud the fact that she embraces the happy accidents. Cheers!

tractorgirl said...

The evidence of the hand of the maker creates a true & strong connection between the maker, the object, and the user. There is something so fundamentally human and beautiful about this three-way continuum, and that is what we love.

BlueBerry Ash said...

What a beautiful thoughts Phoebe, deep and touching. Thank you for sharing! I admire your work, it is stunning as always!

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