A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Barbara Eaves online when she ordered some of my naturally dyed fabric. We’ve continued to follow one another on Instagram, and I’ve since learned that Barbara’s full and interesting life includes traveling, gardening, cycling and precious time with her family. There’s more. Her textile artistry. Seeming to reinvent herself with each new piece, Barbara fearlessly explores possibilities with fabric and thread.
All of these beautiful photos were taken by Barbara. My heart melted when I read her note that the sweet baby quilt shown in the top photo was made using my naturally dyed fabrics, and that she made it for her family’s fundraiser raffle. I can imagine the care Barbara took as she hand embroidered each blue star punctuated by French knots. And I love her hand pieced, improv style triangle border! In fact, every textile piece I’ve seen of Barbara’s is made more special through her individual use of color, texture and added meaning - stories being told with exquisite attention to every detail.
This raw edge log cabin table runner and log cabin mini tapestry are recent examples of Barbara’s time-intensive techniques. Her work is the epitome of slow stitching, although, I suspect Barbara has been working this way long before it became a trend. Her table runner stretches across an outdoor table beckoning family and friends to sit and stay a while. Such is the power of our hand made textiles.
“I began sewing in high school and made clothing for myself and for my children when they were small. I began quilting about twenty years ago, and took several classes at local quilt shops and at our community center. I also have a big pile of books on quilting. My love for Japanese fabrics and the wabisabi aesthetic also began in a high school English class when I first read a haiku poem.
Boro and sashiko stitching, Gwen Marston and Gee’s Bend quilters influence many of the quilts I make. I began dyeing my own fabrics three years ago, and have had so much fun experimenting with local plants. I planted a small dye garden this year which includes Japanese indigo, madder, cosmos and pincushion. Concern for the environment has led me to up cycling used garments and textiles, reducing waste, and mending. The friends I have made on Instagram have been a great source of information, and continue to challenge me. What fun this journey has been.” - Barbara Eaves, California
Personally, when I look at Barbara’s work I sense a certain freedom, a joie de vivre. I marvel at each tiny stitch, each color alongside its neighbor, each whisper of a story being told. Barbara’s work inspires me to want to save every scrap of cloth and stitch them into tiny charming tales and special, useful every day items. To see more of Barbara’s inspiring work and beautiful feed, follow her: @barbiejo1125
Last week, I announced a shop update and was bowled over by your support! I’m grateful for every purchase, every kind word and every photo showing what you’ve made using my naturally dyed fabrics. These next few weeks will be spent stirring dye pots, and I’ll announce the next shop update as soon as the fabrics are ready. In the mean time, you can pre-order Decadent Textile Boxes in the shop right here!
Follow the dye pots and stitching adventures: @tierneybarden