Deborah Barker

Field & Folk

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Deborah grew up in the Sussex Countryside and has a degree in History of Design from University of Brighton where she specialized in textile history.

Her earliest experiments were collecting hedgerow plants with her children to dye the sheep fleece they gathered from the fields around their Sussex cottage. The passion she discovered for working with living botanical colours has never left her.

She went on to study the craft of natural dyeing and has a deep respect for the knowledge that has been accumulated over generations. This understanding and a commitment to the sustainability, of both the dyestuffs and the materials she works with, underpin her approach to natural dyeing.

When we work with sustainably sourced botanical pigment and natural fibres we become co creators with nature.

Deborah loves to work outside with foraged and found dyestuffs. Dyeing with plant material gathered from the land, mindfully and with care, can help us to slow down and connect with the living landscape. Where possible she will harvest plants in such a way that it will actively improve the biodiversity and ecology of the land.

 ‘I find the marriage of pigment and fibre, the way in which natural colours reflect the season, the geography, the weather and the alchemy of creating colour with materials from the local landscape, endlessly fascinating.’

Since 2015 Deborah been mentored by internationally renowned natural dyer Jenny Dean and has been teaching and demonstrating natural dyeing since 2013. As well as her creative practice as a natural dyer she is a freelance arts consultant and project manager in the cultural, health and environmental sectors. She has a particular interest in the intersection between craft, agriculture, education and wellbeing.

You can find Deborah on instagram @field_folk