Today, I have here on the blog with me Carol Eaton, a textile art business owner, to talk to us about her creative journey into textile arts and about the business side of things.
Carol Eaton is a surface design artist and also, a teacher. She loves to explore unique ways to dye fabrics. Carol is so talented. She creates wonderfully beautiful, one-of-a-kind, hand-dyed fabrics.
If you haven’t seen her beautiful fabrics, you need to stop by her blog and take a peek.
So now, let’s learn more about this creative powerhouse – Carol Eaton.
Carol, I’m glad to have you here on the blog with us today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into textile art?
The Beginnings of A Creative Journey: Carol Eaton
Like many artists, I was brought up in a creative environment. My parents provided space for me to explore many mediums. In hindsight, it may have been just an effort to keep a curious little kid occupied but through the experience, I gained the confidence to be fearless in my exploration without worrying about failing.
As a young girl, my mother introduced me to the world of textiles and taught me to sew my own clothes. There are few mediums I didn’t try over the years but eventually, I circled back to fabric. I feel a strong connection with the medium.
I’m curious about something, Carol. I find lots of textile artists are intrigued by surface design. Yet most seem to prefer working with already designed fabrics. What made you choose to specialize in designing fabrics?
How The Search for Inspiration Led to A Vocation
In the 1990’s I became aware of the debate over quilts as art vs utilitarian. I enjoyed quilt making but as I stepped outside of the more traditional designs I wasn’t able to find commercially made fabric that inspired me.
I began to create fabric for my own designs but I soon found more joy exploring surface design than in completing the finished art quilt. The excitement of pulling fabric out of the dye bath or adding another layer of paint has never gotten old!
So Carol tell us. What are some of the surface design techniques you use in your work?
I love, love, love color… all colors! I start with a color palette in mind and visualize how I want the colors to interact with each other. Then, I decide if I want the design to read solid or perhaps have the illusion of texture. From there, I will choose a technique. My go-to favorites are ice dyeing, confetti dyeing, fabric painting and screen collage.
Carol, all these sound like very interesting techniques. How did you learn these techniques?
A Web of Influencers and Teachers along The Journey
Gosh, it feels like a million years ago when I became acquainted with a quilter named Charlotte who showed me how to dye fabrics. It was not a fun feeling. It was too messy and the investment in supplies was too much.
Fast forward about 10 years, I took a workshop on fabric painting with an artist named Michelle. Although this was still a messy project I enjoyed it enough to invest in some supplies and started to dabble in the technique.
I inherited some dyes from a woman who was emptying her studio to join the Peace Corps. So, I decided it was time to relearn the dyeing process.
Oh wow, Carol, that’s quite a few people who’ve had an influence in your creative journey so far. Those two books you mentioned are definitely classics in surface design and anyone interested in the subject should have them in their personal libraries.
Learning to Master the Skills
What about workshops? Did they play any significant role in your learning experience?
I love learning new techniques which can come from formal workshops, talking to other artists or just sharing experiences. When Quilt University was operating, I also took some online classes with them and had a good experience.
I find it interesting that both workshops and online courses played a role in your education. Here on the blog, we’ve recently been discussing how great the internet is for teaching students textile arts.
Now that we’ve started talking about workshops, why don’t we stop here for now and start digging into the business side of things in the second part of this interview?
What a journey it’s been for our guest, Carol Eaton. So many influences, so many experiences. I can’t wait to hear her discuss the business side of textile art in the second part of this interview.
Question: What has your creative journey been like? Did you always know you were going to travel this path? What/who influenced you decision to? Join in the discussion.