Designer Highlight: Mara Snipes
February 16, 2015
Ever since we first discovered the beautiful dyed works of Mara Snipes we've been smitten. Using different classical applications and dying techniques she creates intricate patterns on high quality fabrics that are then turned into home wares and clothing. We recently got to chat with Mara Snipes and take a look into her creative process.
What's your biggest inspiration?
Inspiration for me is a combination of things, and is always changing, but the biggest thing for me right now is mixing methods and materials. It's exciting to work in a craft with such a long history (dye work, textiles, weaving) and introduce non-traditional elements to express something differently. I like to experiment with no end product in mind, just a heap of materials (linen and silk, dye powder, leather pieces, huge paintbrushes and ink) and see what comes from that… generally something takes hold, an idea or a theme, and I keep working until it comes together. Collaborating with other artists is also a great way to generate new ideas and keep my work dynamic and fresh. And getting outside and into wild places is always inspiring - the ocean or the open space near my house - it's very grounding.
What is your favorite medium to work in? Paint, dye, drawing?
So hard to choose, I think they all feed each other. Drawing comes most naturally to me, the straightforwardness of line, and I've always drawn from life (mostly botanicals) or my interpretation of patterns I see in nature. Drawing feels like math - and I love them both - satisfying, and a sense of relief when I get something rendered in the way that I see it. Painting is different for me, it's completely from imagination and a sense of exploring color, shape and movement. Very abstract, each painting is definitely a leap into the unknown, so it feels free and each painting tends to reveal itself. Dye work feels like a mix - there are certain technical details (folding fabric, chemistry) but the element of surprise always sneaks in, and creates beautiful effects that couldn't be planned. I love working with textiles, too, because it takes art and gives it a practical application. I can create a gorgeous piece of fabric, then craft it into a functional thing (dress, pillow cover) so someone can live with original, meaningful objects in an everyday way. Right now I'm working on weaving with leather, wool and dyed silk remnants from my dresses, and will try and work that into some finished pieces. See? I can't choose just one!
Check out Mara's beautiful creations at Stripe.