Foraged Colour Collaboration 1 of 3

My work with the Foraged Colour project from initial ideas to final cloth
“I was one of the four textile artists collaborating with Linda Row on the Foraged Colour project. My role was to conceive and hand-weave cloth from British wool that had been dyed with foraged colours. Linda designed and constructed a dress from the cloth that I wove, and dyed all the wool for my cloth.”

Initial ideas
I love the research phase of a project, especially when working with other people; the energy increases, we bounce ideas off one another, connections are found and our ideas move forward.

I was inspired by the definition of forage that Linda put on the front page of

Search for provisions
To wander in search of forage or food
To make a search

Discussing ideas with Linda Row’s sketches and range of colours from foraged dyestuff at our initial meeting.

Wandering has a timelessness; making me think of the folk/fairy tales set in a forest; Hansel and Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood.

My sketchbook with my initial ideas and some of my inspiration; clockwise from top left Shaun Tan illustration from Grimus Märchen; Anni Albers Dotted 1959, detail; Lorenzo Mattoti illustration from Hansel & Gretel; ibid; Anni Albers Dotted 1959; Anni Albers Under Way 1963; photo by author.


Sketches for cloth to be made into a dress for Foraged Colour



My initial ideas were to create a wandering path through a forest; referencing Annie Albers Under Way, 1963, using recycled silk fabric dyed red. A forest depicted with tree trunk verticals and leafy green horizontals, but then I saw Linda’s fashion sketch. The colours were beautiful; reminding me of autumns past, and the contrasts between autumn and spring.

Clockwise from top left: Linda Row’s fashion sketches for Foraged Colour, which inspired me to look through my photographs from autumns and springs past, images from Bath, Tucking Mill and Stourhead.


My direction was set, two lengths of fabric, one depicting woods in spring and the other woods in autumn, from the same warp.
How could I give an idea of trees? I experimented with ikat to create blocks of colour in the warp with Linda, stripes in browns and purples; using the colours to suggest trunks, some closer and some further away. The next step was sampling, which involved some failures and changes to my ideas… read how it went in my next blog post.

Penny Wheeler